OBJECTIVE: While laparoscopy represents an increasingly important aspect of operative urology, the experience of Canadian urology trainees is poorly defined. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of laparoscopic training of Canadian urology trainees during residency as well as their comfort level with various laparoscopic techniques.
METHODS: An e-mail-and web-based questionnaire was administered to the two most recent cohorts of Canadian-trained urologists (residencies completed in 2003 or 2004). A total of 50 questionnaires were sent. Overall laparoscopic experience and experience with specific laparoscopic tasks (e.g. colonic mobilization) were assessed. Subjects also reported on their relative comfort level (Likert scale of 1 to 5) with various laparoscopic procedures and tasks. Finally, attitudes towards the future role of laparoscopy in the practice of urology were determined.
RESULTS: Thirty-six individuals (72%) responded to the questionnaire. Of the respondents, 28 (78%) were performing fellowships; of those pursuing fellowship training, 13 (36%) involved laparoscopy. Thirty-five respondents (97%) had received some laparoscopic exposure during residency; 29 (81%) had mobilized the colon, spleen or liver and 27 (75%) had dissected the renal vessels. Only 7 out of 33 respondents (21%) felt that their residency adequately prepared them to perform laparoscopy independently. There were no significant differences between the responses of the two cohorts.
CONCLUSION: Most Canadian urology trainees are being exposed to laparoscopy, but more exposure is required in order to perform laparoscopy in practice. Many residents still require fellowship training to become facile in laparoscopy.