Challenges in septorhinoplasty training before and after the COVID-19
pandemic: A cross-sectional survey
Objectives Otorhinolaryngology trainees in the United Kingdom are
required to perform ten septorhinoplasty procedures as the main
operating surgeon in order to achieve a certificate of completion of
training (CCT). The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly reduced operative
opportunities for surgical trainees around the world. Our aim was to
assess UK otorhinolaryngology trainees’ perceptions of their
septorhinoplasty training in the pre-COVID-19 era and frame this within
the current training environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Design Cross-sectional survey. Setting United Kingdom. Participants UK
otorhinolaryngology trainees. Main outcome measures Information on
trainees’ previous operative experience, courses attended, learning
materials used and challenges faced gaining septorhinoplasty training
was collected. Results 64 trainees responded. All Deaneries and Local
Education and Training Boards were represented. 63/64 (98.4%) trainees
had operative exposure septorhinoplasty. 60/64 (93.8%) trainees were
currently at a trust where septorhinoplasty was performed. A variety of
challenges regarding septorhinoplasty training were highlighted, the
most common problem being the low number of cases being performed.
Nearly one-third (8/25) of ST7-8 trainees in this sample had still not
yet performed a septorhinoplasty on at least one occasion even though
they were into the final third of their training. Conclusions The
COVID-19 pandemic is a new and additional threat to septorhinoplasty
training for otorhinolaryngology trainees, particularly those in the
final third of the programme. In the short term, clarification is
required on what level of operative proficiency is required for a CCT.
Longer-term, threats to training can be mitigated by providing cadaveric
courses, embracing simulation and considering private sector placements
in areas of low NHS volume.