OBJECTIVES - To determine the perceived degree of training of residents in laparoscopic nephrectomy. Laparoscopic nephrectomy is well established in the field of urology and has seen increasing penetrance in urologic practice. The degree to which this recent technical shift has been integrated into urologic training at the residency level has not been characterized.
METHODS - An electronic survey was sent to 518 urology residents and recent graduates and to 85 laparoscopic specialists at academic medical centers. Both residents and practicing urologists were queried regarding the level of resident participation for each step of laparoscopic nephrectomy and opinions on the necessity of fellowship training. The data were analyzed using the Wilcoxon rank-sum and chi(2) tests.
RESULTS - Attending surgeons perceived a significantly greater level of resident involvement in performing all aspects of laparoscopic nephrectomy, with the exception of hilar dissection and port closure. To perform laparoscopic nephrectomy, 12.5% of attending physicians and 5% of residents reported that a fellowship is necessary.
CONCLUSIONS - Significant disagreement exists between attending surgeons and residents on the perceived degree of resident involvement in most aspects of laparoscopic nephrectomy. This could have significant implications on resident education for a procedure that is arguably the standard of care for treatment of uncomplicated renal masses. Most attending physicians and residents were in agreement that fellowship is not necessary to perform this procedure. These results raise questions regarding the future of laparoscopic training and bring to light the need for better regulation of laparoscopic training.