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Reasons to Do a General Surgery Preliminary Year Prior to ESIR and Integrated IR Residency
  • The lifestyle is closer to surgery than medicine
    • If you can’t tolerate a general surgery prelim year, can you tolerate the IR fellowship call?
  • Many aspects of surgery parallel IR practice
    • Including but not limited to strong emphasis of clinical practice, lifesaving procedures, high paced lifestyle, and a very busy on call schedule
  • Actively learn anatomy both in the OR and on the floor
  • Review all imaging modalities on a daily basis
  • Gaining experience in perioperative care
  • Close working relationship between surgery and IR
  • Development of technical and procedural skills
  • The active problems are more surgical than medical
  • High focus on technical skills
  • Critical care, trauma, vascular/endovascular cases
  • Balance between clinical time and procedural time

A Note From the Authors:

A surgical intern year is ultimately what you make of it. If you come ready to learn and work, it will be a very challenging but rewarding experience. Make the most of it, your time and energy do not come cheap. The task will seem daunting at first, but stick in there. The transformation you undertake from the beginning to the end is quite remarkable, and the new abilities obtained are formidable. IR attendings will notice your skills immediately, and solo procedures as an R1 become a possibility. Both interventional and diagnostic radiology program directors generally recommend a surgery preliminary year. With that said, picking a place where the learning environment is enjoyable and healthy is crucial. We hope the compiled list helps you make that decision.

I will end with a quick word of caution. There is no sugar coating a surgical internship; it will be hard. If the prospect of doing a single year in general surgery is exceedingly daunting to you, be certain that IR is what you want before investing 6+ years into the training. IR and surgery services run very similar, especially in academic settings. You should expect a high volume of cases, frequent phone calls, busy call schedules, many consults, and daily emergencies requiring you to shift your schedule and stay later. Teams recognize our importance and heavily rely on us. Interventional radiology is evolving to include a greater clinical role, and becoming less of a consult service. We should expect that our responsibility to patients will only increase.

“In your darkest moments remember, it will only be one year, but you will come out much stronger.”

-Unnamed Interventional Radiology Program Director

Ahmed Farag, MD

University of Kentucky Radiology R3/PGY-4  |  Aafara2@uky.edu  |  (502) 262-5980


Below we have provided a list of suggested general surgery preliminary programs. These were evaluated off the following criteria:

  • Culture of the program
  • Vascular surgery and ICU exposure
  • Elective time
  • Ability to customize a schedule to IR residents
  • Relative treatment of preliminary residents compared to categorical
  • Number of operative cases
  • Balance of floor work to OR time
  • Overall experience
Program Name Location Program Director Program Director Email Coordinator Coordinator Email
UPMC Mercy Surgery Pittsburgh, PA Kurt Stahlfeld stahlfeld@upmc.edu Danielle Mckeever upmcmercysurgery@upmc.edu
Greenville Health Systems Greenville, SC Brian Mckinley, MD dnorton@ghs.org Darlene Norton dnorton@ghs.org
Methodist Health System Dallas Program Dallas, Tx Michael S Truitt, MD michaeltruitt@mhd.com Kathy E Flesher katherineflesher@mhd.com
Massachusetts General Hospital Program Boston, MA John T Mullen, MD jmullen@partners.org Barbara A Wolf bwolf3@partners.org
Bassett Medical Center Program Cooperstown, NY Theodor I Kaufman, MD theodor.kaufman@bassett.org Kelly Stone kelly.stone@bassett.org
The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio Alan E Harzman, MD brittany.campbell@osumc.edu Brittany L Campbell, MBA brittany.campbell@osumc.edu
Boston University Medical Center Program Boston, MA Donald T Hess, Jr, MD donald.hess@bmc.org Lana Ketlere lana.ketlere@bmc.org
Los Angeles County-Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Program Los Angeles Angela L Neville, MD rmmorrison@labiomed.org Roxanne M Morrison rmmorrison@labiomed.org
University of North Dakota Program Grand Folks, ND Stefan W Johnson, MD gsresidency@und.edu Angie M Flesberg, BS angie.flesberg@und.edu
Carilion Clinic-Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Program Roanoke, VA Charles J Paget, III, MD cjpaget@carilionclinic.org Tina D Toms tdtoms@carilionclinic.org
Robert Packer Hospital/Guthrie Program Sayre, Pa Burt Cagir, MD burt.cagir@guthrie.org Laura L Warner laura.warner@guthrie.org
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Program Newark, NJ Anastasia Kunac, MD kunacan@njms.rutgers.edu Linda H Vetrecin vetreclh@njms.rutgers.edu
University of Connecticut Program Farmington, CT Brian Shames, MD shames@uchc.edu Janice Hutchison hutchison@uchc.edu
Univerity of Arizona Phoenix Phoenix, AZ Jennifer F Preston, MD Julie.Ladwig@bannerhealth.com Julie Ladwig Julie.Ladwig@bannerhealth.com
University of Chicago Chicago, IL Kevin K Roggin, MD kroggin@surgery.bsd.uchicago.edu Carmen M Barr cbarr@surgery.bsd.uchicago.edu
TriHealth (Good Samaritan Hospital) Program Cincinnati, Ohio Kevin J Grannan, MD kevin_grannan@trihealth.com Teresa Arnold teresa_arnold@trihealth.com
New York-Presbyterian/Queens Program Flushing, NY Christopher Foglia, MD cmf2004@nyp.org Donna M DeChirico dmdechir@nyp.org
Louisiana State University Program New Orleans, LA Lance Stuke, MD, MPH lstuke@lsuhsc.edu Allen Alongi, MBA aalong@lsuhsc.edu
Washington University/B-JH/SLCH Consortium Program St. Louis, MO Paul E Wise, MD wisep@wustl.edu Christa M Donald christa.donald@wustl.edu
Maine Medical Center Program Portland, ME James F Whiting, MD whitij@mmc.org Frederica Jackson, BA fjackson@mmc.org
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Program Chattanooga, TN W Heath Giles, MD wesley.giles@erlanger.org Cindy S Rudolph, MS cindy.rudolph@erlanger.org
Beth Israel Deaconess Boston, MA Tara S Kent, MD, MS surgedu@bidmc.harvard.edu Rachel Sampson, MBA rsampson@bidmc.harvard.edu

The authors did not receive any compensation from programs in order to be featured on this list. Inclusion on this list signifies an impartial recommendation based on the characteristics listed above and does not constitute an endorsement by SIR or any of its subsidiaries.

Contributing Authors: Ahmed Farag, Scott Bittle, Michael Hong, Shantanu Warhadpande, Steven Hawkins

Last updated 9/5/2019