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Early Changes to Neurosurgery Resident Training During the COVID-19 Pandemic at a Large U.S. Academic Medical Center

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COVID-19, Operative, Pandemic, Residency, Surgery, Training, CIConfidence interval, Confidence interval, COVID-19Coronavirus disease 2019, Coronavirus disease 2019, PGYPostgraduate year, Postgraduate year



Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has led to sweeping changes in residency programs across the world, including cancellation of elective cases. The effects of safety measures on neurosurgical training remain unclear. To understand how neurosurgical residents have been affected, we analyzed the operative experience in the months leading up to and during the pandemic.

Methods: The resident and institutional case totals were tallied for a single residency program in Miami-Dade County from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. A matched cohort analysis was performed before and during the pandemic to assess the effects on resident surgical training.

Results: The case totals for all levels of training were lower when restrictions were placed on elective surgeries. An average of 11 cases was logged in April 2020, a decrease from 26 cases in April 2019 (95% confidence interval, 8.7–22; P < 0.01). An average of 20 cases was logged in May 2020, a decrease from 25 cases in May 2019 (95% confidence interval, 1.2–8.8; P = 0.01). In April and May 2020, 299 (66%) and 148 (50%) fewer cases had been performed at our institution compared with April and May 2109.

Conclusions: Operative experience was reduced for residents during the months when the performance of elective cases was restricted. Our data suggest experience in some areas of neurosurgery were more affected than were others, and residents at different levels of training were also affected differently. However, the extent of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on neurosurgical training is unlikely to be understood in the short term.


Article available for free at PubMed Central:

Citation / Publisher Attribution

World Neurosurgery, v. 144, p. e926-e933