Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery: Not Only for Senior Residents

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28 Scopus citations


Objective Fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) was developed by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons to teach the physiology, fundamental knowledge, and technical skills required for basic laparoscopic surgery. We hypothesize that residents are doing more laparoscopic surgery earlier in residency, and therefore would benefit from an earlier assessment of basic laparoscopic skills. Here, we examine FLS test results and ACGME case logs to determine whether it is practical to administer FLS earlier in residency. Design FLS test results were reviewed for the 42 residents completing FLS between July 2011 and July 2016. ACGME case logs for current and former residents were reviewed for laparoscopic cases logged by each postgraduate year. Basic and complex laparoscopic cases were determined by ACGME General Surgery Defined Category and Minimums Report. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis. Setting Academic general surgery residency, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. Participants Current and former general surgery residents. Results A total of 42 residents took and passed FLS between July 2011 and July 2016. All residents successfully passed the FLS knowledge and skills examinations on the first attempt regardless of their postgraduate year (PGY 3n = 13, PGY 4n = 15, and PGY 5n = 14). Total laparoscopic case volume has increased over time. Residents who graduated in 2012 or 2013 completed 229 laparoscopic cases compared to 267 laparoscopic cases for those who graduated from 2014 to 2016 (p = 0.02). Additionally, current residents completed more laparoscopic cases in the first 2 years of residency than residents who graduated from 2012 to 2016 (median current = 38; former = 22; p < 0.001). Examining laparoscopic case numbers for current residents by PGY demonstrated that the number of total and complex laparoscopic cases increased in each of the first 3 years of residency with the largest increase occurring between the PGY 2 and PGY 3 years. In the PGY 4 and PGY 5 years, most laparoscopic cases were complex. Conclusion Increased use of laparoscopic surgery has led to a corresponding increase in laparoscopic case volume among general surgery residents. We would advocate for FLS testing to serve as an early assessment of laparoscopic knowledge and skill and should be performed before a significant increase in complex laparoscopic surgery during training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e51-e54
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • ACGME case log
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery
  • general surgery residency
  • laparoscopic surgery


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