Journal of surgical education 2018 03 28() pii S1931-7204(17)30673-6
Management of the axilla in invasive breast cancer (IBC) has shifted away from more radical surgery such as axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), towards less invasive procedures, such as sentinel lymph node biopsy. Because of this shift, we hypothesize that there has been a national downward trend in ALND procedures, subsequently impacting surgical trainee exposure to this procedure using the ACS-NSQIP database to evaluate this.
Women with IBC were identified in the ACS-NSQIP database from 2007 to 2014. Procedures including ALND were identified using CPT codes. This number was divided by total cases, given a varying number of participating institutions each year. Next, cases involving resident participation were identified and divided by training level: junior (post graduate year-[PGY] 1-2), senior (PGY 3-5) and fellow (PGY ≥ 6). Two tailed z tests were used to compare proportions, with significance determined when p < 0.05. RESULTS
A total of 128,372 women were identified with IBC with 36,844 ALND. ALND rates decreased by an average of 2.43% yearly from 2007 to 2014. Resident participation significantly drops in 2011, from 49.3% before to 29.4% after (p < 0.01). Junior residents experienced a significant decrease in participation rate (43.3%-32.2%, p < 0.05). Senior residents and fellows experienced an upward trend in their participation, although not significant (51.2%-56.3%, p = 0.35, and 5.6%-11.6%, p = 0.056, respectively). CONCLUSIONS
Using the ACS-NSQIP database, we demonstrate the downward trend in rate of ALND for IBC with subsequent decrease in resident participation. Junior residents experienced a significant decrease in their participation with no significant change for senior or fellow-level trainees. Awareness of this trend is important when creating future surgical curriculum changes for general surgery and fellowship training programs.