Defining benchmarks for fellowship training in foregut surgery: a 10-year review of fellowship council index cases

Joshua J. Weis, Aurora Pryor, Adnan Alseidi, Juan Tellez, Matthew I. Goldblatt, Samer Mattar, Kenric Murayama, Michael Awad, Daniel J. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Surgical treatment of foregut disease is a complex field that demands advanced expertise to ensure favorable outcomes for patients. To address the growing need for foregut surgeons, leaders within several national societies have become interested in developing a foregut fellowship. The aim of this study was to develop data-driven benchmarks that will aid in defining appropriate accreditation criteria for these fellowships. Methods: We obtained case log data for Fellowship Council fellows trained from 2009–2019. We identified 78 complex foregut (non-bariatric) case codes and divided them into 5 index case categories including (1) hiatal/paraoesophageal hernia repair, (2) fundoplication, (3) esophageal myotomy, (4) major organ resection, and (5) minor organ resection. Median volumes in each index category were compared over time using Kruskall–Wallis tests. The share of cases done using open, laparoscopic, or robotic approaches were analyzed using linear regression analysis. Results: For the 10 years analyzed, 1362 fellows logged 82,889 operations and 111,799 endoscopies. Median foregut cases per fellow grew significantly from 42 (IQR = 24–74) cases in 2010 to 69 (IQR = 33–106) cases in 2019. Median endoscopy volumes also grew significantly from 42 (IQR = 7–88) in 2010 to 69 (IQR 32–123) in 2019.The volume of hiatal/paraoesophageal hernia repairs increased significantly over time while volumes in the remaining 4 index categories remained stable. The share of robotic cases exhibited near perfect linear growth from 2.2% of all foregut cases in 2010 to 14.4% in 2019 (R = 0.99, p < 0.0001). Open cases exhibited linear decay from 7.2% of cases in 2010 to 4.7% of cases in 2019 (R = 0.92, p = 0.0001). Laparoscopic/thoracoscopic cases also exhibited linear decay from 90.6% of cases in 2010 to 80.9% of cases in 2019 (R = 0.98, p < 0.00001). Conclusions: FC fellows are exposed to robust volumes of foregut cases. This rich data set provides an evidence-based guide for establishing criteria for potential foregut fellowships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8856-8862
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Fellowship
  • Foregut
  • Fundoplication
  • Graduate medical education


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