The number of endoscopies performed by surgery fellows increased almost 30 percent over the last decade.

But as endoscopy becomes a more common part of surgical practice, little information is available on the volume of endoscopic surgery and the trends these numbers reveal. That’s according to research presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2019 conference in San Diego by Dr. David Morrell, a general surgery resident at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Morrell and his research co-authors set out to use surgical fellow case logs to pinpoint trends in endoscopic surgery, according to recent coverage in Healio, a health care news website. And data over a 10-year timeframe shows that endoscopic cases per surgical fellow are expected to continue to increase, and because of that residency programs need to continue to expose surgical residents and fellows to endoscopy and offer them more and better teaching tools.

Graph showing the increase in number of endoscopy cases per surgery fellow

Case logs of 1,613 surgery fellows, who started training from 2007 to 2016, were analyzed, with fellows grouped by program and matriculation year. The mean number of flexible endoscopy cases per fellow were calculated and broken down into endoscopic subcategories:

  • Advanced GI: 725 fellows
  • Bariatric: 667 fellows
  • Colorectal: 67 fellows
  • Hepatobiliary: 49 fellows
  • Thoracic: 43 fellows
  • Flexible endoscopy: 39 fellows
  • Foregut: 7 fellows
  • Uncategorized: 16 fellows

Morrell and his co-authors found that endoscopy cases surged 28.3 percent over 10 years, while the number of surgery fellows increased 21.5 percent. The mean annual flexible endoscopy cases per fellow was 93.5; over that decade-long span, the mean jumped from 78 cases per fellow to 100.1, largely due to a 52.4 percent increase in diagnostic upper endoscopy and a 40.1 percent climb in therapeutic upper endoscopy.

For more on the research, click here for Healio’s story and here for DDW’s website, which features a host of post-meeting resources for those with access, including presentation slides and notes.