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J Pediatr Surg. 2016 Jan;51(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2015.10.007. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

The surgeon and the child.

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Wayne State University School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Michigan, 3901 Beaubien Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48201. Electronic address:


For many reasons pediatric surgeons have been asked to do all general and thoracic procedures in children. The profession has responded by training more, but the core of special cases requiring pediatric surgical expertise has not changed, and there is concern that the many surgeons now in training will not each do enough cases to attain and maintain operative expertise. This presentation examines the psychological, educational, and surgical literature on the development of expertise, especially operative expertise. From this I conclude that individual surgeon volume when gained in deliberate practice with a coach and with effort is essential, and that several technologies hold promise for allowing deliberate practice in simulation environments. I propose that in order to avoid a decline in pediatric surgical operative expertise we must reorganize pediatric surgical training and practice to align with Optimal Resources for Children's Surgery and the evolution of training in general surgery.


Expertise; Training; Workforce

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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