Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 752–757 | Cite as

Feasibility of needlescopic surgery for colorectal cancer: safety and learning curve for Japanese Endoscopic Surgical Skill Qualification System-unqualified young surgeons

  • Hisanori Miki
  • Yosuke FukunagaEmail author
  • Toshiya Nagasaki
  • Takashi Akiyoshi
  • Tsuyoshi Konishi
  • Yoshiya Fujimoto
  • Satoshi Nagayama
  • Masashi Ueno



Needlescopic surgery (NS) is a minimally invasive technique for colorectal cancer. NS may be easier to perform than other minimally invasive surgery such as single-incision laparoscopic surgery and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery because the port setting is the same while the shafts are thinner than in conventional laparoscopic surgery. We evaluated the capability of introducing this surgery for sigmoid and rectosigmoid colon cancer by assessing the learning curve in Japanese Endoscopic Surgical Skill Qualification System (JESSQS)-unqualified surgeons.


In this retrospective study, 112 cases of sigmoidectomy and anterior resection were performed by NS from October 2011 to December 2015 in our institution. Surgical outcomes including operation time, blood loss, postoperative hospital stay, perioperative complications, and overall survival were compared between JESSQS-qualified surgeons (Group A) and JESSQS-unqualified surgeons (Group B). The learning curve for NS was established using the average operation times in JESSQS-unqualified surgeons.


Groups A and B comprised of 41 and 71 patients, respectively. Ninety patients underwent sigmoidectomy and 22 patients underwent anterior resection. No conversion to open surgery occurred. The operation time was significantly shorter in Group A than B (P = 0.0080). There were no significant differences in blood loss, the postoperative hospital stay, perioperative complications, or overall survival between the two groups. These variables were similar even when NS was considered relatively difficult, as in patients with obesity (body mass index of ≥ 25 kg/m2), bulky tumors (tumor size of ≥ 50 mm), and stage III/IV cancer. The average operation time in JESSQS-unqualified young surgeons was significantly shorter in the ninth and tenth cases than in the first and second cases of NS (P = 0.0282).


NS for sigmoid and rectosigmoid colon cancer was performed safely by both JESSQS-qualified surgeons and JESSQS-unqualified surgeons. Even JESSQS-unqualified young surgeons might be able to quickly learn NS techniques.


Needlescopic surgery Colorectal cancer Learning curve Novice surgeon Feasibility and Safety Endoscopic surgical skill qualification system 



We thank Angela Morben, DVM, ELS, from Edanz Group (, for editing a draft of this manuscript.


This research did not receive any specific grant funding from agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards


Drs. Hisanori Miki, Yosuke Fukunaga, Toshiya Nagasaki, Takashi Akiyoshi, Tsuyoshi Konishi, Yoshiya Fujimoto, Satoshi Nagayama, and Masashi Ueno have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hisanori Miki
    • 1
  • Yosuke Fukunaga
    • 1
    Email author
  • Toshiya Nagasaki
    • 1
  • Takashi Akiyoshi
    • 1
  • Tsuyoshi Konishi
    • 1
  • Yoshiya Fujimoto
    • 1
  • Satoshi Nagayama
    • 1
  • Masashi Ueno
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterological SurgeryCancer Institute Hospital of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer ResearchTokyoJapan

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