American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Statement on Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Procedures

Since the "Statement on Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy" was published in the June 1990 issue of the Bulletin, advances in minimal access techniques have transformed many surgical procedures. In response to inquiries about appropriate qualifications for performing laparoscopic and thoracoscopic procedures, the American College of Surgeons has consistently emphasized the need for training and experience in these or any other operations for which a surgeon requests privileges. Moreover, the College has strongly suggested that each hospital maintain an accurate registry of each surgeon's experience with minimal access operations, and encourages surgeons to assist one another in order to gain the maximum experience with the new technology and to share the value learned from each patient. Comparative results can provide excellent education and result in better patient outcomes.

A basic principle for any surgical procedure is that it should be performed by a qualified surgeon. In light of this principle, the American College of Surgeon wishes to make the following statement.

For optimum quality patient care, laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgical procedures should be performed only by surgeons who are qualified through documented training and experience to perform comparable open thoracic and abdominal surgical procedures and to manage their potential complications. The surgeon must have the judgment, training, and capability to proceed immediately to a standard open surgical procedure if necessary.

Reprinted from Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons
Vol. 78, No. 9, Page 48, September 1993