Surgical Endoscopy

, 24:125 | Cite as

Laparoscopic appendectomy by residents: evaluating outcomes and learning curve

  • Yap Yan Lin
  • Asim Shabbir
  • Jimmy B. Y. SoEmail author



Laparoscopic appendectomy is being performed increasingly, worldwide. To the resident, it provides a valuable opportunity to master basic laparoscopic skills. Studies have shown that laparoscopic appendectomy performed by residents is safe. However, to date, there is no clear evidence for the minimum number of these operations required to achieving proficiency and safety. The aim of this study is to assess the outcome of laparoscopic appendectomies performed by surgical residents and to evaluate the effect of learning curve on patient outcome.


All patients undergoing laparoscopic appendectomies performed by six residents during the study period were reviewed. Data on patient demographics, clinical and histological diagnosis, and outcome variables including operative duration, conversion to open surgery, complications, and length of stay were analyzed. We evaluated the effect of the learning curve by dividing patients into two groups: a first group consisting of the initial 20 patients and a second group consisting of the next 20 patients operated upon independently by each resident. Variables were analyzed to determine any difference between the two groups.


Three hundred six patients with the clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis underwent laparoscopic appendectomy by residents. Mean operative time was 83.8 min. Of patients, 14.6% required conversion to open surgery. Mean length of hospitalization was 2.82 days. Operative duration and complication rate were significantly reduced with increasing experience of residents. The length of hospital stay and conversion rate to open surgery remained unchanged.


Operative duration and complications can be reduced with increasing experience of a resident.


Laparoscopic appendectomy Resident Learning curve Surgical training 



Drs. Yap Yan Lin, Asim Shabbir, and Jimmy So Bok Yan have no corporate, commercial or financial relationships that might pose a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryNational University HospitalSingaporeSingapore

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