Background. Surgical resident education may contribute to increased operating time, thus increasing costs at teaching institutions. It is possible that junior residents, in particular, with less experience could contribute to longer operating times for laparoscopic cholecystectomy. We hypothesized that all general surgery residents, regardless of level of training and with proper supervision, could complete a laparoscopic cholecystectomy in a safe and timely fashion. Materials and methods. A retrospective study was performed using data collected from laparoscopic cholecystectomies completed under the supervision of one attending surgeon over a 2-year period. Operating times were recorded, the operating surgeon was identified, and cases were assigned an acuity level based on pathologic findings. Operative times were compared after dividing surgeons into three groups (junior residents, senior residents, and staff). Results. Seventy-one cases were entered into the study. There were no differences when comparing mean operating times among the three groups (P = 0.2, analysis of variance). The pathologic acuity in each group was similar (P = 0.8, Fisher's exact test). There was a difference when evaluating the operating times for the pathologic level of acuity (P = 0.002, Kruskal-Wallis test). Conclusions. Resident level does not affect the operating time in performing laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The pathologic acuity of the gallbladders was distributed similarly for all three groups. There was a difference in mean operating time based on pathologic acuity. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy can be performed in a safe and efficient manner at a teaching institution.
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