Introduction Advanced laparoscopic courses serve as a comprehensive and popular Continuing Medical Education (CME) activity. Knowledge of basic laparoscopy is an assumed prerequisite for attendance at these courses. Objective To determine the baseline laparoscopic knowledge of attendees at an advanced laparoscopic surgical course. Methods A.17-question examination was designed using data from the basic laparoscopic quizzes on the Society of American Gastrointestinal Surgeons (SAGES) website (http://www.sages.org/ education/quiz). The questions covered 4 realms of basic laparoscopy: access, pneumoperitoneum, camera navigation, and surgical instrumentation. The questionnaire was distributed to all attendees at an advanced laparoscopic course at the 2009 Canadian Surgical Forum organized by the Canadian Association of General Surgeons. Results Forty-three respondents completed the survey. Fifty-three percent (53%) of responders had been in practice for more than 10 years and 65% had over 5 years experience. Fifty-five percent (55%) [24/43] of respondents listed laparoscopic courses as the sole means of laparoscopic training. Sixty-one percent (61%) [28/43] were performing > 50 laparoscopic cases per year. The median score on the knowledge-based questions was 70.6% [12/17]. In terms of overall score, respondents with more than 5 years experience performed similarly to respondents with less than 5 years experience (73% correct answers). Interestingly, in a subgroup analysis, respondents performed well in camera skills and pneumoperitoneum-themed questions (84% correct answers) but performed poorly on questions pertaining to instrumentation or access (52% correct answers). Conclusion Basic laparoscopic knowledge among the attendees of an advanced laparoscopic course is suboptimal. A review of basic principles of laparoscopy particularly pertaining to instrumentation and access should form part of these CME activities.
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