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Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 679323, 7 pages
Research Article

Influence of Resident Education in Correctly Diagnosing Extremity Soft Tissue Sarcoma

1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1215 21st Avenue South, Medical Center East, South Tower, Suite 4200, Nashville, TN 37232-8774, USA
2Division of General Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

Received 30 January 2013; Accepted 21 March 2013

Academic Editor: Cyril Fisher

Copyright © 2013 Vignesh K. Alamanda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. One-third of all extremity soft tissue sarcomas are misdiagnosed and inappropriately excised without proper preoperative diagnosis and planning. This study aimed at examining the clinical judgment of residents in both general and orthopaedic surgery and at determining whether resident education plays a role in appropriately managing unknown soft tissue masses. Methods. A case-based survey was used to assess clinical decisions, practice patterns, and demographics. Aggregate response for all of the clinical cases by each respondent was correlated with the selections made for practice patterns and demographic data. Results. A total of 381 responses were returned. A higher percentage of respondents from the orthopaedic group (84.2%) noted having a dedicated STS rotation as compared to the general surgery group (35.8%) . Depth, size, and location of the mass, rate of growth, and imaging characteristics were considered to be important factors. Each additional year of training resulted in 10% increased odds of selecting the correct clinical decision for both groups. Conclusion. Our study showed that current residents in both orthopaedic surgery and general surgery are able to appropriately identify patients with suspicious masses. Continuing education in sarcoma care should be implemented beyond the years of residency training.