Background: Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has become an important aspect of general surgery. The degree to which pediatric surgeons have incorporated MIS into their practice is not known.
Study design: An MIS survey was sent to all members of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. Respondents were separated into two groups: nonperformers and performers of MIS. Performers were asked how they were trained in MIS and the total number and types of minimally invasive procedures they have performed.
Results: Eighty-two percent of surveyed pediatric surgeons perform MIS. Eighty-seven percent received some or all of their training in a postgraduate course. Two percent received their only training during their general surgery residency. Forty-seven percent of performers reported 50 or fewer total procedures. A wide variety of procedures were reported, but laparoscopic cholecystectomy (95%) was the procedure most frequently reported. Thoracoscopic procedures (71%) were also reported at high rates.
Conclusions: Most pediatric surgeons in our survey perform MIS. The high rate of laparoscopic cholecystectomies reported suggests that the initial MIS experience of pediatric surgeons in our survey is similar to adult general surgeons. The frequency, however, of thoracic cases reported indicates that MIS techniques are being applied to all areas of pediatric surgery. The total minimally invasive procedure experience of our respondents also suggests that pediatric surgeons are early in their learning curve.