Introduction: Laparoscopy is becoming the standard approach in liver surgery. As the degree of difficulty varies greatly from core skills to advanced procedures, strategies for teaching young surgeons need to be reconsidered. We here aimed to design a skills curriculum for LLR.
Methods: Using the nominal group technique, 22 substeps of LLR were identified by 61 hepatobiliary surgeons. The raters were asked to rate (1) the difficulty of substeps and (2) the minimum number of times that the substep must be performed for mastery of the technique. According to the frequency of defined substeps, being estimated on the basis of high volume center experiences (n = 222 LLR; 1/2017-12/2018), the center's training capacity and defined goals for a 2-year fellowship were calculated.
Results: Ten surgical substeps (45%) are routinely performed and can thus be taught sufficiently at centers carrying out ≥50 LLR in 2 years. As the mobilization of the right liver lobe and the dissection of the hepatic artery or portal vein is performed in only 27% and 28% of all LLR, respectively, sufficient training can only be provided at centers with ≥100 LLRs in 2 years. Mastery of complex parenchymal dissection (19%) and hilar lymphadenectomy (8%) can only be achieved in center performing ≥200 LLR in 2 years.
Conclusion: We here suggest a stepwise approach for training of hepatobiliary fellows in LLR. Based on the estimated complexity of the substeps and the size of the center, not every substep can be learned within 2 years.