An evaluation of the American College of Surgeons' ultrasound education program

Edgar D. Staren*, M. Margaret Knudson, Grace S. Rozycki, Jay K. Harness, David C. Wherry, Steven R. Shackford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background: Ultrasound has a wide variety of applications in surgery, but until recently few surgeons received any formal training in its' use. To facilitate incorporation of ultrasound into surgical practice, the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) developed an ultrasound educational program. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the ACoS ultrasound education program. Methods: A survey was mailed to all surgeons who had completed at least one of several ultrasound courses offered by the ACoS from 1998 to 2002. Results: A total of 1,791 surveys were mailed out and 873 completed surveys were returned. Sixty-five percent (576) of respondents reported using ultrasound in their practices after these educational courses. Of those performing ultrasound examinations, 267 did so in one clinical area and 309 in more than one. The most common examination was breast (369 surgeons); vascular, acute/trauma, abdominal, intraoperative/laparoscopic, and head/neck were utilized fairly equally (100-200 surgeons). The number of examinations performed by surgeons before they felt competent was between 11 and 20 and did not vary by the type of ultrasound examination. Of the 267 surgeons performing ultrasound in one clinical area, 176 performed ultrasound-guided procedures. Most surgeons had access to 2 ultrasound machines, but 386 (67%) were restricted from performing ultrasound in certain locations. Conclusions: The ACoS ultrasound courses are extremely popular and have contributed to the increasing use of ultrasound in surgical practice. Surgeons successfully use ultrasound in their practices including performance of ultrasound-guided procedures but are restricted from using ultrasound in certain patient care areas. Since many surgeons received prior and/or additional training outside of the ACoS, there is a need to facilitate export of ACoS courses to other venues and to focus on incorporating ultrasound training into surgical residency programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Competency
  • Course
  • Privileges
  • Sonography
  • Surgeon
  • Survey
  • Ultrasound


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