10+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2008
Status (Visible)
I guess this is a general question about doing a prelim surgery year at a big institution like Mt Sinai in NY.

Im going into a ROAD residency after my PGY1, but I am interested in doing a surgical prelim year as my PGY1.

My question to you surgery residents and applicants...even though programs claim that their categorical and prelim interns get the same treatment, is this really true? During my interview I was unable to meet or talk to a prelim intern, only categoricals.

Do prelims get treated like cheap labour? Or will we benefit from our year of internship?


15+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2002
Some places treat them the same, some don't. It's impossible to know without firsthand experience, or the secondhand report of an actual prelim.

At my program, I was told that prelims were treated the same with regard to operative experience, and indeed I was. At the end of the year, I had as many cases as the average categorical. But most prelims had significantly less, even the ones whom I'm sure were meticulous about recording them.

One caveat: the designated prelims (which is what you'd be) were far more frequently assigned to night float than either the categorical gen surg or the undesignated prelims. The good ones still got some cases, though, even on night float.

As a radiologist, I think you'd find it useful to have done a surgery prelim, even if you never get to go to the OR. But you might ask your question in the radiology forum, and get opinions from radiology residents who've actually gone that route. They do exist, although they are rare.
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