Previous observational studies comparing emergency surgery outcomes with surgeon experience have not been able to provide statistically significant data. This study aims to investigate the association between acute care surgeon experience and patient morbidity and mortality after emergency surgical procedures.

This cohort study included a total of 772 patients who were presented with a traumatic injury and required an emergency surgical procedure or an emergency general surgical intervention. 56 acute care surgeons of varying experiences were assigned randomly to patients. The surgeons were divided into the following experience groups: less than 6 years, 6 to 10 years, 11 to 30 years, and 30 years or more. The primary outcomes of the study were mortality and other complications.

The findings suggested that patient mortality, along with other complications and factors like a postoperative transfusion, organ-space surgical site infection, and length of stay, were similar across all experience groups. However, patients operated by early-career surgeons had a higher rate of unplanned return to the operating room compared with early-mid career, late-mid career, and late-career surgeons.

The findings suggested that while there was no difference in the rate of mortality, complications, and other factors among patients operated by surgeons of differing experience groups, those operated by early-career surgeons had a higher likelihood of an unplanned return to the operating room.