The study, conducted between 2005 and 2007, looked at 60,000 surgeries conducted during that time period. They found that in cases where residents were involved in care, the rate of severe complications was less than 6%. This mirrored that rate of severe complications during surgeries where there were no residents. This seems to show that resident involvement does not put the patient at increased risk for serious surgical complications.
However, there is a slightly higher risk for non-serious complications. Surgery sites were marginally more likely to become infected in cases where residents were involved: 3% in resident cases versus 2.2% in non-resident cases. This may be due to the fact that resident-involved cases took a bit longer to perform (122 minutes versus 97 minutes), possibly because of the training the students were receiving and the need for the lead surgeon to go over procedures with them.
The new study seems to support the theory that residents and medical trainees do not put patients at a higher risk of serious complications and their involvement should not be seen as negative. Patients can be assured that their care is being delivered with their well-being in mind.