Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery



To describe the resident experience with respect to key indicator cases for each year of training.

Study Design

Multi‐institution, cross‐sectional assessment.


Using an electronic survey, current otolaryngology residents were solicited to complete a survey regarding their experiences with the key indicator cases to that point. The survey was sent to this cohort in the winter of 2017–2018.


Three hundred and three residents responded, with 293 completing the survey. Twenty‐three percent were PGY1, 19% PGY2, 21% PGY3, 18% PGY4, and 19% PGY5 or higher. The majority of residents progress from resident assistant as a PGY2, to resident surgeon as a PGY3 and self‐assessed competent surgeon as a PGY4 for the majority of the key indicator cases. Less than 50% of the surveyed PGY5 residents had reached independent practice in all the key indicator cases, with stapedectomy (16%), rhinoplasty (18%), and paramedian forehead flap (14.5%) being the cases least frequently performed independently. Ninety‐five percent of the respondent residents felt their program provided adequate training, but 20% of the respondents were either unsure or believed that they would be unable to perform all the key indicator cases by the completion of their training.


The majority of otolaryngology residents feel confident in their training, but experience with certain cases lags behind and may not currently be taught as resident level cases. These findings raise the question of whether the current key indicator cases are the best option for assessing breadth and depth of residency training.

Level of Evidence


Source Citation

O'Brien, D.C., Kellermeyer, B., Chung, J. and Carr, M.M. (2019), Experience with key indicator cases among otolaryngology residents. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, 4: 387-392. doi:10.1002/lio2.274


© 2019 The Authors. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Triological Society.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.



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