This paper aims to evaluate the pediatric surgery training pipeline vis-à-vis the pediatric surgery match and operative experience of pediatric surgery fellows.
Pediatric surgery remains a competitive surgical subspecialty. However, there is concern that operative experience for pediatric surgery fellows is changing. This paper examines the selectivity of the pediatric surgery match, along with the operative experience of pediatric surgery fellows to characterize the state of pediatric surgery training.
The pediatric surgery fellowship match was analyzed from the National Resident Matching Program data from 2010 to 2019. Selectivity among fellowships was compared using ANOVA with Dunnett’s test. Operative log data for pediatric fellows was analyzed using the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case logs from 2009 to 2019. Linear regression analysis was used to evaluate trends in operative volume over time.
Pediatric surgery had the highest proportion of unmatched applicants (47.2% ± 5.3%) and lowest proportion of unfilled positions (1.4% ± 1.6%) when compared to other NRMP surgical fellowships. ACGME case log analysis revealed a statistically significant decrease in cases for graduating fellows (-5.3 cases/year, p0.05). Total index cases decreased (-4.7 cases/year, p < 0.01, R2 = 0.83) such that graduates in 2019 completed 59 fewer index operations than graduates in 2009.
Although pediatric surgery fellowship remains highly selective there has been a decline in the operative experience for graduating fellows. This highlights the need for evaluation of training paradigms and operative exposure in pediatric surgery to ensure the training of competent pediatric surgeons.

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