, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1784-1790
Date: 07 Feb 2013

Single-incision laparoscopic colectomy: training the next generation

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Single-incision laparoscopic colectomy (SILC) is touted to be an improved approach for minimally invasive surgery although no data currently exists regarding the acquisition of skills for the safe performance of this technique. The authors report their early experience with proctoring of surgical residents in SILC by experienced colorectal surgeons.


Data regarding patient demographics, operative data, and short-term outcomes were prospectively collected at two surgical training hospitals. Residents and staff independently rated individual components of this technique to compare them with learning standard multiport colectomy (MP).


A total of 31 SILC cases (15 men; mean age 53 years) were managed. The average BMI was 26.5 kg/m2 (range 16–39 kg/m2). The surgical indications included cancer (n = 13), polyps (n = 8), diverticular disease (n = 4), Crohn’s disease (n = 2), familial adenomatous polyposis (n = 2), volvulus (n = 1), and rectal prolapse (n = 1). The average operative time was 164 ± 86 min, and the mean blood loss was 80 ± 83 mL. The mean incision length was 4.1 ± 1.1 cm. One case required additional trocar placement (stoma creation), and three cases required conversion to open procedure because of failure to progress, difficult colorectal anastomosis, or poor visualization. The median hospital stay was 5.7 ± 1.3 days. The 30-day morbidity included minor wound infections (9.7 %), ileus (6.5 %), blood transfusion (3.2 %), and intraabdominal abscess (3.2 %). No deaths occurred. Residents rated vascular pedicle isolation, mobilization, critical structure exposure, instrument conflict/handling, and ergonomics as significantly more difficult with SILC.


Senior-level residents can safely perform SILC under appropriate experienced supervision. The required advanced skills reflect complex laparoscopic training occurring during residency. Opportunities exist for better preparation and training of surgical residents to perform this complex surgery independently and safely at completion of residency.