The laparoscopic experience of surgical graduates in the United States
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Background: Although laparoscopic surgery has become widespread during the past decade, no systematic study of the training needs exists. To obtain guidance for planning, we analyzed the national resident operative experience during the past 8 years. Methods: The laparoscopic experiences of all surgical residents graduating between 1994 and 2001 were subjected to regression analysis. The laparoscopic volume of each trainee and change in ratio of laparoscopic/open operation over time were used to estimate the growth of individual laparoscopic operations in training programs. Results: Laparoscopic surgery constituted only 5.7% of a trainee’s total surgical experience in 1994, but comprised 13% by 2001. A resident completing training in 1994 performed 53 laparoscopic operations, of which 79% (42) were cholecystectomies. By 2001, a graduate performed 126 laparoscopic operations, of which 68% (86) were cholecystectomies. During the interim, most laparoscopic operations exhibited growth. Trainee experience in some newer operations has also increased steadily but at a much slower rate. Conclusions: This descriptive statistical survey of training experience yields a comprehensive picture of the laparoscopic capability of the young surgeon. The growth potential of some newer operations has also been measured. Using these data, guidelines can be drawn as to which operation programs should focus resources on training residents. Since competence depends on exposure, residency training alone may not provide sufficient depth to allow recent graduates to perform the newer operations independently.
KeywordsTrends in laparoscopic operations Advanced laparoscopic operations Laparoscopic fellowships Resident’s laparoscopic experience
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