Integrated flexible endoscopy training during surgical residency

Surg Endosc. 2008 Sep;22(9):2013-7. doi: 10.1007/s00464-008-9760-z. Epub 2008 Feb 23.


Background: New advances in endoscopic surgery make it imperative that future gastrointestinal surgeons obtain adequate endoscopy skills. An evaluation of the 2001-02 general surgery residency endoscopy experience at the University of Missouri revealed that chief residents were graduating with an average of 43 endoscopic cases. This met American Board of Surgery (ABS) and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requirements but is inadequate preparation for carrying out advanced endoscopic surgery. Our aim was to determine if endoscopy volume could be improved by dedicating specific staff surgeon time to a gastrointestinal diagnostic center at an affiliated Veterans Administration Hospital.

Methods: During the academic years 2002-05, two general surgeons who routinely perform endoscopy staffed the gastrointestinal endoscopy center at the Harry S. Truman Hospital two days per week. A minimum of one categorical surgical resident participated during these endoscopy training days while on the Veterans Hospital surgical service. A retrospective observational review of ACGME surgery resident case logs from 2001 to 2005 was conducted to document the changes in resident endoscopy experience. The cases were compiled by postgraduate year (PGY).

Results: Resident endoscopy case volume increased 850% from 2001 to 2005. Graduating residents completed an average of 161 endoscopies. Endoscopic experience was attained at all levels of training: 26, 21, 34, 23, and 26 mean endoscopies/year for PGY-1 to PGY-5, respectively.

Conclusions: Having specific endoscopy training days at a VA Hospital under the guidance of a dedicated staff surgeon is a successful method to improve surgical resident endoscopy case volume. An integrated endoscopy training curriculum results in early skills acquisition, continued proficiency throughout residency, and is an efficient way to obtain endoscopic skills. In addition, the foundation of flexible endoscopic skill and experience has allowed early integration of surgery residents into research efforts in natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System* / statistics & numerical data
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Hospitals, Veterans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Retrospective Studies