Passing the fundamentals of endoscopic surgery (FES) exam: linking specialty choice and attitudes about endoscopic surgery to success

Surg Endosc. 2018 Jan;32(1):225-228. doi: 10.1007/s00464-017-5663-1. Epub 2017 Jun 21.


Introduction: Previous work has shown that up to 30% of graduating surgery residents fail the fundamentals of endoscopic surgery (FES) exam. This study investigated the extent to which FES pass rates differ in a specific sample of individuals who have chosen a career in GI surgery and to examine the relationships between FES performance and confidence in performing flexible endoscopy.

Methods: Fellows attending the 2016 SAGES Flexible Endoscopy Course were invited to complete the FES manual skills examination. Participants also provided survey responses examining demographics, fellowship type, endoscopy curricula in residency, previous endoscopic case volume, confidence in performing endoscopy, and future practice plans.

Results: Twenty-nine (age: 32.24 ± 3.24; 72% men) fellows completed the FES skills examination. Reported fellowships were MIS/Bariatric (41.4%), MIS (24.1%), bariatric (13.8%), flexible endoscopy (6.9%), Advanced GI (6.9%), and MIS/bariatric/flexible endoscopy (6.9%). Almost half (41.4%) had previously participated in a simulation curricula, with 20.7% completing a didactic endoscopy curriculum. Fellows reported performing an average of 110 ± 109.48 EGDs and 77.44 ± 58.80 colonoscopies. The majority (96.4%) indicated that they will perform endoscopy at least occasionally in practice. Overall pass rate was 60%. Previous endoscopy experience did not correlate with overall FES examination scores. However, confidence performing EGDs (r = 0.57, p < 0.01), colonoscopies (r = 0.45, p < 0.05), polypectomy (r = 0.52, p < 0.01), and PEGs (r = 0.46, p < 0.05) did.

Conclusions: These data support existing research suggesting that current flexible endoscopy training in residency may be insufficient for trainees to pass the FES examination, and that failure rates hold true even for this select group of trainees who have chosen a profession in GI surgery and intend to use endoscopy in practice.

Keywords: Competency; Endoscopy; FES; Fellows; Flexible endoscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate*
  • Endoscopy / education*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Specialties, Surgical / education*
  • United States