General Surgery Residency Curriculum: Rotations

First-year program

The first-year program is designed to familiarize the resident with the basic components of acute patient care. Initial evaluation of the patients and postoperative care skills are developed in the inpatient setting, clinic and faculty offices.

Technical skills for open and laparoscopic surgery are taught in a structured course utilizing our surgical skills laboratory as well as through the daily experience in the operating room.

The rotations include:

  • General and bariatric surgery (LVH–Cedar Crest and LVH–Muhlenberg)
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Transplant surgery
  • Plastic surgery
  • Burn surgery
  • Acute care surgery
  • Trauma
  • Surgical critical care
  • Intern night float
  • Vascular

Second-year program

The goal of the second year of the residency is to familiarize the trainee with all components of surgical critical care. Additionally, continued experience on the general surgery services will expand the resident’s fund of knowledge.

The rotations provided in the second year are:

  • General and bariatric surgery (LVH–Cedar Crest and LVH–Muhlenberg)
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Transplant surgery
  • Colon and rectal surgery and endoscopy
  • Surgical critical care
  • Vascular surgery (LVH–Cedar Crest and LVH–Muhlenberg)
  • ICU night float

Third-year program

The focus of the third year is to provide the resident with supervisory experience on the trauma service along with continued experience on the general surgery services. Operative experience during this year involves progressively more complex laparoscopic and open surgical procedures. Experience in diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy is a strength of the training experience for the residents in this year.

The rotations include:

  • General and bariatric surgery (main hospital and LVH–Muhlenberg)
  • Acute care surgery
  • Surgical oncology
  • Advanced trauma
  • One-month elective rotation (in-house)
  • Senior night float
  • Cardiothoracic surgery

Fourth-year program

The objective of the fourth-year program is to provide the resident with increasing experience in performing complex surgical procedures in both general and vascular surgery. Residents have used the elective rotation to enhance their experience in a specific area or evaluate a subspecialty for possible further study after the completion of the general surgery program.

The fourth-year rotations include:

  • General and bariatric surgery (main hospital and LVH–Muhlenberg)
  • Robotic surgery
  • Vascular surgery (main hospital and LVH–Muhlenberg)
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Transplant surgery
  • Breast and Endocrine rotation
  • One-month elective rotation

Fifth-year program

The fifth year is structured to develop the skills and fund of knowledge to prepare the resident to be a competent general surgeon capable of independent decision making and performing of operative procedures. Another major objective of this year is to develop broad teaching skills by serving as seminar leader for the resident conferences. Active participation in teaching will serve to enhance the knowledge of the senior resident while imparting information to junior residents and medical students.

The fifth-year rotations include:

  • General and bariatric surgery (main hospital and LVH–17th Street)
  • Surgical oncology 
  • Acute care surgery
  • Principal physician for teaching service
  • Chief night float

Resident operative experience

The operative experience of the general surgery residents at Lehigh Valley Hospital is comprehensive in both quantity and variety of surgical procedures performed. The experience meets all criteria for complete training in all of the major components of general surgery as well as exceeding the requirements for all index cases defined by the Residency Review Committee. All rotations are done within the Lehigh Valley Hospital network between the main hospital (Cedar Crest site), Muhlenberg site (eight weeks in second, third and fourth year) and 17th Street site (chief year, outpatient rotation).

Chief residents’ operative experience

Category RRC* minimum required LVH resident average – 2022 graduates
Skin and soft tissue and breast 25 82
Breast 40 86
-Mastectomy 5 50
-Axilla 5 13
Head and neck 25 84
Alimentary tract 180 321
-Esophagus 5 26
-Stomach 15 46
-Small intestine 25 43
-Large intestine 40 56
-Appendix 40 124
-Anorectal 20 24
Abdominal 250 455
-Biliary 85 185
-Hernia 85 183
-Liver 5 8
-Pancreas 5 13
Vascular 50 141
-Access 10 32
-Anastomosis, repair, exposure or endarterectomy 10 59
Endocrine 15 51
-Thyroid or parathyroid



Trauma (operative)



Trauma (non-operative)



-Team leader resuscitation



Thoracic surgery



-Open thoracotomy









Surgical critical care



Laparoscopic - basic






-Upper endoscopy






Laparoscopic - complex



Total majors



-Surgeon chief



-Teaching assistant 25


*Residency Review Committee for Surgery, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

Reach out.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our General Surgery Residency Program, contact Program Coordinator Wendy Hess at 610-402-7868 or via email below.

We’d like to hear from you.

You may also get information about the residency by contacting Program Manager Kaitlyn Toro at 610-402-1764 or via email below.