Safe introduction of laparoscopic and retroperitoneoscopic nephrectomy in clinical practice: impact of a modular training program

World J Urol. 2017 May;35(5):761-769. doi: 10.1007/s00345-016-1921-4. Epub 2016 Aug 16.


Purpose: To describe and validate a novel modular training scheme (MTS) for trans-peritoneal laparoscopic nephrectomy (LN) and retroperitoneoscopic nephrectomy (RN).

Methods: Four consultant urologists attended a Masterclass in "Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery," certified by the University of Turin (IT). The Masterclass was based on a supervised MTS, which involved progressive, proficiency-based training through nine and seven steps for LN and RN, respectively. After becoming proficient in all the steps, each trainee performed a minimum of five procedures as first operator under direct observation of the mentor in the training centre. Then, each trainee independently performed 10 LN and 10 RN at his home institution. The surgical outcomes were compared with those from a contemporary series of procedures performed by the mentor.

Results: All trainees successfully completed the 12-week MTS program. Median number of training cases to become competent in trans-peritoneal LN and RN was 13.0 (IQR 11.5-20.5) and 23.5 (IQR 19.5-32.0), respectively. A significantly higher rate of conversion to open surgery was observed for RNs independently performed by the trainees in their hospital compared to the mentor (p = 0.033). Failure to progress due to difficult anatomical orientation and abdominal wall bleeding during dissection of retroperitoneal space were the most frequent reasons of conversion.

Conclusions: A 12-week intensive modular program allows to achieve proficiency in performing independently LN and a RN after a median of 13 and 23.5 cases, respectively. Therefore, these procedures can be safely introduced and implemented in clinical practice within a relatively short time.

Keywords: Laparoscopic nephrectomy; Mentoring; Modular training.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Oxyphilic / pathology
  • Adenoma, Oxyphilic / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Conversion to Open Surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Laparoscopy / education*
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Mentoring
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nephrectomy / education*
  • Nephrectomy / methods
  • Retroperitoneal Space / surgery*
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / education
  • Urology / education*

Supplementary concepts

  • Oncocytoma, renal