The aim of the study was to characterize surgeon perspectives regarding the benefits and downsides of conducting overlapping surgery.
Although surgeons are key stakeholders in current discussions surrounding overlapping surgery, little has been published regarding their opinions on the practice. Further characterization of surgeon perspectives is needed to guide future studies and policy development regarding overlapping surgery.
Study information was sent to all members of 3 professional surgical societies. Interested individuals were eligible to participate if they identified as attending surgeons in an academic setting who work with trainees. Purposive selection was used to diversify surgeons interviewed across multiple dimensions, including subspecialty and opinion regarding appropriateness of overlapping surgery. In-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted with participants regarding their opinions on overlapping surgery.
The 51 surgeons interviewed identified a wide array of potential benefits and disadvantages of overlapping surgery, some of which have not previously been measured, including downsides to surgeon wellness and patient experience, less surgeon control over procedures, and difficulty in scheduling cases. Interviewees often disagreed as to whether overlapping surgery negatively or positively affects each dimension discussed, particularly regarding the impact on resident training.
The utilization of the novel perspectives presented here will allow for targeted assessment of physician perspectives in future quantitative studies and increase the likelihood that variables measured encompass the range of factors that surgeons find meaningful and relevant. Priority areas of future research should include examining effects of overlapping surgery on surgical training and surgeon wellness.