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The impact of a resident’s seniority on operative time and length of hospital stay for laparoscopic appendectomy: outcomes used to measure the resident’s laparoscopic skills

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Laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) frequently is performed by residents during calls. This study aimed at evaluating residents’ surgical skills using parameters of operating time, length of hospital stay (LOS), and conversion rate in correlation with the operating team’s level of seniority. In addition, this study compared the operating time for LA with that for open appendectomy performed by the same teams, and identified deterministic factors that have an impact on such parameters.


All records of patients undergoing appendectomy performed by residents alone during a 32-month period were reviewed retrospectively. Eight residents were assigned to two levels of seniority: juniors ≤3 years (J) and seniors >3 years (S). Operating time and LOS were compared between the three surgical teams, namely, J/J, J/S, and S/J as operating and assistant surgeons, respectively. Operating time, conversion rates, and LOS were compared for the same team combinations.


Residents alone performed 341 (151 laparoscopic and 190 open) appendectomies during on-call hours. Four of the residents had been 3 years or less in residency (J), and four had been in residency more than 3 years (S). The overall mean operating time was 1.33 ± 0.48 h for LA and 1.2 ± 0.5 h for open appendectomy (p = 0.016). The operating time correlated with the level of training for both LA (J/J, 1.6 ± 0.38 h; J/S, 1.41 ± 0.37 h; S/J, 1. 25 ± 0.4 h; p = 0.03, ANOVA) and open appendectomy (J/J, 1.53 ± 0.89 h; J/S, 1.4 ± 0.63 h; S/J, 0.86 ± 0.45 h; p = 0.023, ANOVA). The mean LOS was 2.9 ± 3.1 days for open appendectomy and 2.1 ± 2.8 days for LA (p = 0.065), and was not different after operation by any of the teams (J/J, J/S, S/J) for either the open or the laparoscopic procedure.


There is a distinct difference in the surgical skills of residents according to level of seniority, as primarily reflected by operating time. Laparoscopic appendectomy requires longer time to perform in a teaching setting, but the most deterministic factor that dictates operating time is the composition of the surgical team rather than the laparoscopic approach.

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Correspondence to M. Shabtai.

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Shabtai, M., Rosin, D., Zmora, O. et al. The impact of a resident’s seniority on operative time and length of hospital stay for laparoscopic appendectomy: outcomes used to measure the resident’s laparoscopic skills. Surg Endosc 18, 1328–1330 (2004).

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