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Curriculum & Conferences


The first year

  • General Surgery (8 months)
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Anesthesia

The second year

  • General Surgery (8 months)
  • Otolaryngology
  • Urological Surgery
  • Burn Rotation at The University of Wisconsin
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery

The third year

  • General Surgery (6 months)
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology (2 months)
  • Endoscopy
  • Transplant Rotation at the University of Wisconsin
  • Electives (Rural Surgery, International Rotation, Research, etc.) (1 month)

The fourth year

  • General Surgery
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Endoscopy
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Electives (Rural Surgery, International Rotation & Research) (1 month)

The fifth year

  • General Surgery

Specialty Services

Anesthesiology - Residents work individually with one of the department’s anesthesiologists to learn airway management, support of the anesthetized patient, regional anesthesia, respiratory care, and care of ICU patients. Challenging cases are discussed at monthly conferences.

Cardiothoracic Surgery - Residents work closely with cardiovascular surgeons on diagnostic evaluation of patients, interpreting results, and assisting at major operations. Residents gain maximum experience in cardiac surgery, thoracic and thoracoscopic surgery.

Endoscopy - Residents work with the gastroenterologists to learn the indications, complications, and techniques of colonoscopy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy, percutaneous endoscopic gastrectomy. The resident is also exposed to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and associated techniques.

Obstetrics and Gynecology - This busy service has more than 1,500 deliveries a year, offering residents opportunities to work with board certified obstetricians/gynecologists on a wide range of gynecological experiences.

Orthopedic Surgery - Residents learn pre/post operative care of orthopedic patients in the hospital/clinic and assist in surgery. Learning opportunities include working with orthopedic surgeons in the management of fracture cases and non-traumatic conditions involving the musculoskeletal system.

Urology - Through this service, residents work with board certified urologists; learn diagnosis and treatment of urological conditions; and gain an understanding of how urology works with other specialties.



  • Basic Science Lecture (two-year curriculum)
  • Clinical Science Conference
  • Morbidity/Mortality Conference
  • Breast Cancer Conference
  • Gastrointestinal Tumor Board
  • Vascular Conference


Other Conferences

In addition to mandatory surgery conferences, surgical residents are encouraged to attend as many of the daily conferences at the medical center involving other specialties as their schedules permit.

Operative Experience

Experiences are wide ranging, but vary according to the needs of patients at the time each resident is on service. Over the course of five years, a resident typically performs more than 1,100 operative procedures, including 350 major procedures during the fifth year. The following are an average of the major procedures for our graduating residents.

Category2018 Required Minimums*2015-2017 GHS Case Volumes**
Skin, Soft Tissue 25 51
Breast 40 69
Mastectomy 5 24
Axilla 5 23
Head and Neck 25 53
Alimentary Tract 180 251
Esophagus 5 8
Stomach 15 8
Small Intestine 25 29
Large Intestine 40 63
Appendix 40 63
Anorectal 20 23
Abdominal 250 361
Biliary 85 125
Hernia 85 143
Liver 5 5
Pancreas 5 4***
Vascular 50 182
Access 10 40
Anastomosis, Repair, or Endarterectomy 10 31
Endocrine 15 21
Thyroid or Parathyroid 10 16
Operative Trauma 10 16
Non-operative Trauma 40 28***
Resuscitations as Team Leader 10
Thoracic Surgery 20 20
Thoracotomy 5 7
Pediatric Surgery 20 28
Plastic Surgery 10 12
Surgical Critical Care 40 75
Laparoscopic Basic 100 197
Endoscopy 85 221
Upper Endoscopy 35 55
Colonoscopy 50 160
Laparoscopic Complex 75 91
Total major cases 850 1,100
Chief year major cases 200 234
Teaching Assistant cases 25 33

*New minimum requirements for graduating Class of 2018 and future classes
**Gundersen Health System
***Average case volumes for pancreas and non-operative trauma met the minimum requirements prior to 2018

Residents are exposed to a wide variety of minimally invasive operations including laparoscopy, endoscopy, robotics and endovascular procedures.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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