BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Effective application of electrosurgical techniques requires knowledge of energy sources and electric circuits to produce desired tissue effects. A lack of electrosurgery knowledge may negatively affect patient outcomes and safety. Our objective was to survey obstetrics-gynecology trainees and faculty to assess their basic knowledge of electrosurgery concepts as a needs assessment for formal electrosurgery training.
METHODS: We performed an observational study with a sample of convenience at 2 academic hospitals (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Mount Auburn Hospital). Grand rounds dedicated to electrosurgery teaching were conducted at each department of obstetrics and gynecology, where a short electrosurgery multiple-choice examination was administered to attendees.
RESULTS: The face validity of the test content was obtained from a gynecologic electrosurgery specialist. Forty-four individuals completed the examination. Test scores were analyzed by level of training to investigate whether scores positively correlated with more advanced career stages. The median test score was 45.5% among all participants (interquartile range, 36.4%-54.5%). Senior residents scored the highest (median score, 54.5%), followed by attendings (median score, 45.5%), junior residents and fellows (median score in both groups, 36.4%), and medical students (median score, 27.3%).
CONCLUSION: Although surgeons have used electrosurgery for nearly a century, it remains poorly understood by most obstetrician-gynecologists. Senior residents, attendings, junior residents, and medical students all show a general deficiency in electrosurgery comprehension. This study suggests that there is a need for formal electrosurgery training. A standardized electrosurgery curriculum with a workshop component demonstrating clinically useful concepts essential for safe surgical practice is advised.