, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp 2556-2561
Date: 26 Mar 2010

Surgical resident’s training in colonoscopy: numbers, competency, and perceptions

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There is currently great discrepancy in the training requirements between medical societies regarding the recommended threshold number of colonoscopies needed to assess for technical competence. Our goal was to determine the number of colonoscopies performed by surgical residents, rate of cecal intubation, as well as trainee perceptions of colonoscopy training after completion of their training period.


This study consisted of a 12-item electronic survey completed by 21 surgical residents after their 2-month endoscopy rotation at a tertiary care, urban referral center. This survey assessed numbers of colonoscopies performed, number successful to the cecum, and perceptions of training in colonoscopy. The cecal intubation rate was used as a surrogate marker of technical competence.


Twenty-one surgical residents performed a mean of 80 ± 35 total colonoscopies during the 2-month rotation. The average cecal intubation rate was 47% (range 9–78%). Resident comfort level for independently performing a total colonoscopy was scored a mean 3.6 on scale of 1–5 (5 = most comfortable), and 43% of the surgical residents planned on performing colonoscopy after residency training.


Surgical residents can obtain the recommended threshold for colonoscopy (N = 50) during a standard 2-month rotation. However, no resident was able to achieve technical competence in colonoscopy as defined by a 90% cecal intubation rate. These data suggest that the method of training of general surgery residents in colonoscopy may need reappraisal.