, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 1737-1743
Date: 11 Jan 2012

The revised ACGME laparoscopic operative requirements: how have they impacted resident education?

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Laparoscopic surgery has been an essential component of surgical education for the last two decades. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) changed the requirements for laparoscopic cases beginning with graduates in 2008, and the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery program was introduced over a decade ago as a method of measuring competency with laparoscopic techniques. The purpose of this study was to determine what changes have been made to meet these requirements and how these changes have impacted general surgery residents in their preparation to perform both basic and complex laparoscopic procedures upon completion of residency.


A 23-question survey was distributed electronically to all fourth- and fifth-year residents of United States general surgery residency programs. Respondents were queried about demographics, perception of surgical education, and their level of preparedness to perform laparoscopic cases upon graduation.


The survey was completed by a total of 321 residents (174 fourth-year and 147 fifth-year). Nineteen percent of respondents indicated that they anticipated problems meeting the new ACGME guidelines and 18.7% of all respondents indicated that changes had been made to their program to meet those new requirements. The majority of residents felt they had adequate laparoscopic training upon graduation, but there was a disparity between program types. Despite this finding, more than one-third of respondents believed that it would be necessary to seek additional laparoscopic training post-residency graduation.


Residency training programs have had to keep pace with evolving technology while preparing future surgeons to perform with confidence upon completion of residency training. The majority of residents feel their training has been adequate, but there are also a great number who believe they will need to continue their education in laparoscopic surgery to keep pace with this ever-evolving field.