Purpose: During surgical residency, many learning methods are available to learn an inguinal hernia repair (IHR). This study aimed to investigate which learning methods are most commonly used and which are perceived as most important by surgical residents for open and endoscopic IHR.
Methods: European general surgery residents were invited to participate in a 9-item web-based survey that inquired which of the learning methods were used (checking one or more of 13 options) and what their perceived importance was on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = completely not important to 5 = very important).
Results: In total, 323 residents participated. The five most commonly used learning methods for open and endoscopic IHR were apprenticeship style learning in the operation room (OR) (98% and 96%, respectively), textbooks (67% and 49%, respectively), lectures (50% and 44%, respectively), video-demonstrations (53% and 66%, respectively) and journal articles (54% and 54%, respectively). The three most important learning methods for the open and endoscopic IHR were participation in the OR [5.00 (5.00-5.00) and 5.00 (5.00-5.00), respectively], video-demonstrations [4.00 (4.00-5.00) and 4.00 (4.00-5.00), respectively], and hands-on hernia courses [4.00 (4.00-5.00) and 4.00 (4.00-5.00), respectively].
Conclusion: This study demonstrated a discrepancy between learning methods that are currently used by surgical residents to learn the open and endoscopic IHR and preferred learning methods. There is a need for more emphasis on practising before entering the OR. This would support surgical residents' training by first observing, then practising and finally performing the surgery in the OR.
Keywords: Endoscopic inguinal hernia repair; Liechtenstein; Open inguinal hernia repair; Surgical education.