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Frye Wins Top Gun at SAGES 2022

SAGES Top Gun winner Corbin Frye holding trophy with Chris Eagon and Michael Brunt
From left: Christopher Eagon, MD, Corbin Frye, MD, and Michael Brunt, MD.

Corbin Frye, MD, a general surgery resident at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, won the Top Gun Surgeon competition at the SAGES 2022 annual meeting.

The Top Gun laparoscopic skills programs provide a rapid and effective development platform for skills acquisition and suturing excellence in the videoscopic environment. Trainees practice laparoscopic skills and learn techniques from instructors, preparing them for minimally invasive surgery in a clinical setting.

Each year, general surgery residents at Washington University participate in a local Top Gun competition at the medical school, where they are timed on several tasks. These challenges include suturing, transferring pegs, and bean drop, with surprise skills sometimes being chosen for the final round.

The winner of this local Top Gun competition then goes on to represent the Department of Surgery at the national level. The national Top Gun competition is hosted by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) at their annual meeting. The fastest residents from programs across the country compete in the SAGES Top Gun competition to showcase their laparoscopic skills.

“The Top Gun competition has been a part of the residency training program for several years now,” says Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery Michael Brunt, MD, who is the Pruett Family Professor of Surgery and a past president of SAGES. “They get very competitive by nature and so they really enjoy going through this program.”

This high level of competition has inspired Frye since the beginning of his surgical training. In the 2017-2018 academic year, Frye was the first intern to win the Top Gun competition at the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE). He has gone on to win the local Top Gun competition every year since. At the national level, Frye won the Top Gun competition at SAGES in 2021 and again in 2022.

“None of this would have been possible without the educational resources and support of the Department of Surgery,” says Frye. “This residency program provides top notch surgical education from the commitment of the faculty and staff to the one-of-a-kind surgical simulation center.”

At the SAGES 2022 annual meeting, Frye also won a competition focused on laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (CBDE). The CBDE and safe cholecystectomy station at SAGES allowed participants to gain cognitive knowledge and hands-on experience with the technique and instruments used for transcystic common bile duct exploration, and gain familiarity with principles of safe cholecystectomy.

WISE prepares trainees for excellence in surgery through its innovative curriculum. WISE labs, training courses and certifications give trainees, including general surgery residents, experience with laparoscopic skills in an academic environment. Residents can practice their laparoscopic skills as much as needed to improve timing and precision, both of which are essential to the Top Gun competition and clinical practice.

The Department of Surgery congratulates Frye on his consecutive Top Gun wins.