General Surgery Residency Program Overview


The general surgery residency is a five-year program encompassing all aspects of general surgery as well as the surgical specialties, with an optional year of basic research available. The general surgical subspecialties include endocrine surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, advanced laparoscopic surgery, surgical ICU, and trauma surgery. Residents are also assigned to other surgical services with approved graduate education programs including orthopaedic surgery and urology. Six categorical residency positions and we also offer preliminary internship positions each year.

PGY1: Assignments during this year are for one-month periods, providing exposure to general and specialty services in the four affiliated hospitals: ART, VA, Main and MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital. The resident will gain experience through one-month assignments to general surgery and the surgical specialties including anesthesia, cardiothoracic surgery, transplantation, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, and urology. Emphasis is directed to the fundamentals of both preoperative and postoperative surgical care and to learning fundamental technical skills.

PGY2: Assignments in this year are for one- or two-month periods, focusing on pediatric surgery, trauma/acute care, cardiothoracic ICU, vascular surgery, breast/endocrine surgery, transplant surgery, night ART, and STICU.

PGY3: Assignments are one- to two-months long in the third year. Assignments include the transplant, night emergency/trauma, and gastrointestinal surgery services (colorectal surgery, MIS, pancreatic biliary surgery) as well as the general surgery service at the VA Hospital and a community rotation at an offsite hospital.

PGY4: During this year, residents serve as senior general surgical residents on the night emergency/trauma service, breast/endocrine surgery, gastrointestinal surgery services, pediatric surgery service, and vascular surgery. They also do a thoracic surgery month and a rotation with a group of well-respected surgeons at a community hospital.  

PGY5: During this year residents serve as general surgical chief residents on the gastrointestinal surgery services, surgical oncology, night/emergency trauma service, and the VA  general surgery services. The chief resident is expected to assume maximum responsibility for all aspects of surgical care on each service.

On-Call Schedule
Night call for most services is covered by the night emergency/trauma (NET) Service. or the night ART (NART) service. This schedule may vary according to the assigned rotation. Work schedules are established so that residents work less than 80 hours per week with one day in seven "off", ten hours off between duty shifts, and a maximum of 24 hours on call.

Research Year
Residents have the opportunity to take a two-year period away from clinical rotations to participate in full-time laboratory research in one of several areas of surgery, including oncology, transplantation immunology, and cardiovascular surgery. Research residents will be expected to take one call shift per month. 

Educational Activities
Throughout the program, there are regularly scheduled conferences. On a weekly basis, the surgical service conference reviews all morbidity and mortality cases. A weekly basic science and clinical seminar series reviews a core curriculum in fundamental problems relevant to surgical care. Presentations are given by members of the surgical staff, faculty from other clinical and basic science departments, and senior surgical house officers. Surgical grand rounds are held once a month and include presentations from all aspects of general surgery such as vascular, endocrine, trauma and gastrointestinal surgery, as well as the surgical subspecialties. In each hospital, surgical clinics are held weekly for follow-up of patients cared for on the general surgical services. Attendance at clinics is required of all surgical residents. A weekly cancer clinic is also held. Residents make presentations at weekly conferences attended by both residents and students. All general surgery categorical residents and selected preliminary interns take the annual in-service examination of the American Board of Surgery. Upper-level residents also are given mock oral examinations, which closely approximate the conditions and content of the certifying examination of the American Board of Surgery. Those residents choosing to pursue further training have also done well, with all such graduates over the last ten years serving fellowship spots in their chosen specialties.