The primary goal of the Thoracic Surgery residency at the University of Virginia is to educate and train the next generation of cardiothoracic surgeons. Our residents have been chosen from amongst the most accomplished candidates. In order to achieve our educational goals our primary focus is on the operative experience of the residents, allowing autonomy for them as they gain experience in the preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative care of their cardiothoracic surgical patients.
Design of the Two Year Program
Rotations for the residents are outlined as noted in the chart below with exceptions made occasionally depending on the service needs of the program and the educational needs of the individual residents. In general, the senior CT residents will spend 18 months on adult and pediatric cardiac surgery and 6 months on general thoracic surgery. The GTS track residents will spend 14 months on general thoracic surgery and 10 months on adult and pediatric cardiac surgery. The clinical PGY5 and PGY6 years of the I-6 program mirror the two years of the Traditional (Independent) program.
The case variety and clinical experience at the University is extraordinarily varied and robust. All residents will perform, with appropriate supervision, minimally-invasive valve surgery, off-pump coronary bypass procedures, complex aortic surgeries, redo cardiac procedures, aortic endograft procedures, transcatheter valve replacements, and minimally-invasive atrial fibrillation ablative procedures, as well as LVAD and cardiac transplantation procedures. The General Thoracic Surgical clinical experience includes VATS lobectomies and segmentectomies, all types of esophagectomies, laparoscopic benign esophageal disease procedures, extrapleural pneumonectomies, surgery for mediastinal tumors, lung transplantation, and lung volume reduction surgeries.
While the length of the Traditional Thoracic Residency is two years and the majority of that time is spent in clinical care and operating, residents are encouraged to participate in clinical research during the residency program. There is no time in the final two years for basic research as part of the curriculum. However, the Thoracic Surgery faculty members are actively involved in a variety of clinical research studies which provide residents opportunities to participate in this type of research. The average number of publications from the Thoracic Surgical faculty is approximately 60-75 annually. There is ample opportunity for resident participation in manuscript and book chapter publications for peer-reviewed journals and texts.
The UVA faculty recognizes the value of simulation. Monthly labs have been developed for residents to receive additional training using inanimate models. Training sessions include such techniques as mechanical circulatory support, mitral valve repair, coronary artery anastomoses, and valve sparing root procedures. While the majority of surgical technical education still occurs in the operating room, we recognize that simulation can provide a low stress environment in which rare or complex procedures can be fully demonstrated and practiced.