Background Proficiency with common endocrine operations is expected of graduating, general surgery residents. However, no expert consensus guidelines exist about these expectations. Methods Members of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons were surveyed about their opinions on resident proficiency with common endocrine operations. Results Overall response rate was 38%. A total of 92% of the respondents operate with residents. On average, they believed that the steps of a total thyroidectomy for benign disease and a well-localized parathyroidectomy could be performed by a postgraduate year 4 surgery resident. Specific steps that they thought might require more training included decisions to divide the strap muscles or leaving a drain. Approximately 66% of respondents thought that a postgraduate year 5 surgery resident could independently perform a total thyroidectomy for benign disease, but only 45% felt similarly for malignant thyroid disease; 79% thought that a postgraduate year 5 surgery resident could independently perform a parathyroidectomy. Respondents’ years of experience correlated with their opinions about resident autonomy for total thyroidectomy (benign r = 0.38, P < .001; malignant r = 0.29, P = .001) but not parathyroidectomy. On multivariate analysis, sex and years of experience of the respondents were independently associated with opinions on autonomy but only for total thyroidectomy for benign disease (P = .001). Annual endocrine volume of the respondents did not correlate with beliefs in autonomy. Conclusion There was general agreement among responding members of the AAES about resident proficiency and autonomy with common endocrine operations. As postgraduate year 5 residents may not be proficient in advanced endocrine operations, opportunities exist to improve training prior to the transition to independent practice for graduates that anticipate performing endocrine operations routinely.
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