The influence of training level and surgical experience on survival in colorectal cancer

Authors: Hilska, Marja1; Roberts, Peter2; Kössi, Jyrki3; Paajanen, Hannu4; Collan, Yrjö5; Laato, Matti2

Source: Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery, Volume 389, Number 6, November 2004 , pp. 524-531(8)

Publisher: Springer

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The effect of surgical training level, experience, and operation volume on complications and survival in colorectal cancer during a 10-year period in a medium-volume university hospital was retrospectively studied.

Four hundred and fifty-six patients were resected for primary colorectal adenocarcinoma during the 10-year period of 1981–1990, and of these, 387 patients underwent resection with curative intent. The surgeons were divided into three groups according to training level and volume: group 1, surgeons in training and other surgeons operating annually on only 1–4 patients; group 2, surgeons specializing in gastrointestinal surgery (average annual volume 4–13 operations); group 3, specialists in gastrointestinal surgery (average annual volume 3–8 operations). Postoperative morbidity and mortality rates, as well as long-term survival rates, were analysed, and comparisons were made between the patients in the three groups.

There were no statistically significant differences between the three groups in postoperative morbidity or mortality. Cancer-specific 5-year survival rate of all patients was 57%, and that of those resected in the aforementioned three groups was 51%, 63%, and 55%, respectively, P=0.087. The 5-year survival rates for colon cancer were 59% (total), 52%, 69%, and 58%, respectively, P=0.067, and for rectal cancer were 51% (total), 42%, 53%, and 52%, respectively, P=0.585.

There were no significant differences in the rates of postoperative mortality, morbidity, and long-term overall survival between the volume groups. However, in patients with colon cancer, there was a trend for better survival for those operated on by the surgeons specializing in gastrointestinal surgery, and in rectal cancer patients, a tendency of fewer local recurrences in those operated on by the specialist surgeons.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Prognosis; Surgery; Survival; Training level

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Surgery, Turku University Central Hospital, 20520, Turku, Finland, Email: 2: Department of Surgery, Turku University Central Hospital, 20520, Turku, Finland, 3: Department of Surgery, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland, 4: Department of Surgery, Mikkeli Central Hospital, Mikkeli, Finland, 5: Department of Pathology, Turku University Central Hospital, Turku, Finland,

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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