Objectives: We examined the influence of surgeon age and other factors on proficiency in laparoscopic or open hernia repair.
Summary background data: In a multicenter, randomized trial comparing open and laparoscopic herniorrhaphies, conducted in Veterans Administration hospitals (CSP 456), we reported significant differences in recurrence rates (RR) for the laparoscopic procedure as a result of surgeons' experience. We have also reported significant differences in RR for the open procedure related to resident postgraduate year (PGY) level.
Methods: We analyzed data from unilateral laparoscopic and open herniorrhaphies from CSP 456 (n = 1629). Surgeon's experience (experienced > or =250 procedures; inexperienced <250), surgeon's age, median PGY level of the participating resident, operation time, and hospital observed-to-expected (O/E) ratios for mortality were potential independent predictors of RR.
Results: Age was dichotomized into older (> or =45 years) and younger (<45 years). Surgeon's inexperience and older age were significant predictors of recurrence in laparoscopic herniorrhaphy. The odds of recurrence for an inexperienced surgeon aged 45 years or older was 1.72 times that of a younger inexperienced surgeon. For open repairs, although surgeon's age and operation time appeared to be related to recurrence, only median PGY level of <3 was a significant independent predictor.
Conclusion: This analysis demonstrates that surgeon's age of 45 years and older, when combined with inexperience in laparoscopic inguinal herniorrhaphies, increases risk of recurrence. For open repairs, only a median PGY level of <3 was a significant risk factor.