Learning Curve of Laparoscopic Surgery for Colorectal Cancer at a New Regional State Hospital: A Single-Surgeon Experience Of 106 Consecutive Cases Without Supervision

Goksoy B., Kiyak M., Karadag M., YILMAZ G., Azamat I. F.

Surgical Technology International, vol.41, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier


Background: Laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer is mostly performed in university hospitals or experienced centers. This study aimed at determining the learning curve of laparoscopic surgery for col-orectal cancer at a new regional state hospital. Patients and Methods: Clinico-pathological data of 106 consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer at a new regional state hospital between August 2018 and September 2021 were prospectively recorded and analyzed. All surgeries were performed by a single inexperienced surgeon without supervision. The primary outcome of the study was the operative time, which was used for a Cumulative Sum (CUSUM) analysis of the learning curve. The secondary outcomes included a comparison of preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative outcomes during the learning curve period. Results: According to the CUSUM analysis, the learning curve consisted of three unique phases: phase 1 [the initial learning period (cases 1-53)], phase 2 [the consolidation period (cases 54-68)], and phase 3 [the experienced period (cases 69-106)]. Of the intraoperative outcomes, operative time and estimated blood loss were significantly reduced from phase 1 to phase 3 (p<0.001). Of the postoperative outcomes, time to pass stool (p<0.05), time to oral feeding (p=0.001), drain removal time (p<0.001), and length of hospital stay (p=0.042) were shorter in phase 3 compared to phases 1 and 2. Of the histopathological results, the specimen length and the number of harvested lymph nodes increased with experience (p=0.001). Conclusions: The present results suggest that a surgeon at a new regional state hospital must experience 53-68 cases to achieve competence in laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery.