Approval for a primary certificate in vascular surgery has provided alternative training paradigms dedicated to this evolving discipline. The primary advantage of an integrated program is the ability to train residents in both general and vascular surgery in five years with a specific focus on the principles of vascular and endovascular surgery.
Training and Rotations
Training integrates relevant core general surgical rotations during the first three years, dedicated vascular surgery rotations in the fourth year, and a 12-month vascular surgery chief residency experience during the fifth. Trainees spend 36 months on the vascular surgery service and 24 months on core or general surgery rotations. The later rotations include these surgical areas: general, laparoscopic, endocrine, oncology, trauma, transplant, critical care - pediatric and cardiothoracic. Upon program completion, candidates will be eligible for primary certification in Vascular Surgery.
Core general surgical training focuses on critical topics that residents may be exposed to during patient care. This residency utilizes both a nightfloat system to remain compliant with the 80-hour workweek mandate and an apprenticeship model to provide earlier opportunities for junior residents to run a service and actively participate in the operating room.
Inpatient vascular and endovascular surgery training are obtained during yearly rotations on the vascular surgery services at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Both have sufficient clinical volume in open and percutaneous endoluminal interventions to satisfy requirements. Each year, trainees gain increasing experience and responsibility in the inpatient management and operative care of vascular patients. During these rotations, residents spend one day per week in the outpatient clinic with the vascular surgery faculty in addition to their inpatient experience.
Subspecialty rotations in Interventional Radiology and the Vascular Laboratory occur during the fourth year as it currently exists in the traditional training paradigm. Time spent in the vascular laboratory interpreting noninvasive studies allows trainees to qualify for the Registered Physician Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) examination after coursework completion. As the integrated program progresses, the integrated chief will replace one of the traditional two-year independent program chiefs. This ensures that each has an opportunity for independent inpatient and operative management.