Background Although laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is the gold standard, some patients still require an open cholecystectomy (OC). This study evaluates the mean number of OCs performed by each graduating general surgery resident during each of 3 decades. Study Design Data were obtained from all patients undergoing a cholecystectomy during 3 decades: prelaparoscopic era (1981 to 1990), first decade of LC (1991 to 2001), and recent decade of LC (2004 to 2013). Data were prospectively collected and retrospectively reviewed and analyzed by chi-square or Fisher's exact test. Results Compared with the prelaparoscopic decade, the number of patients undergoing an OC decreased considerably, by 67%, during the first decade of LC, and by 92% during the most recent decade at the 2 core teaching hospitals. Mean number of OCs performed per graduating chief general surgery resident decreased significantly for both laparoscopic decades compared with the prelaparoscopic decade (70.4, 22.4, and 3.6, respectively). In the last decade at the core institutions, 683 (8.8%) patients also underwent an intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC) and 36 (0.5%) underwent common bile duct exploration (CBDE). When biliary cases done at affiliated institutions during the last decade were included, the mean number of OCs (from 3.6 to 10.2), IOCs (from 683 to 2,098), and CBDEs (from 36 to 116) all increased (p <0.001) per graduating chief general surgery resident. Conclusions There has been a considerable decline in the number of OCs, IOCs, and CBDEs available to our trainees during the past 30 years. New training paradigms should include renewed focus on performing an IOC and/or CBDE as clinically indicated during LC; high-quality simulation programs for OC, IOC, and CBDE; and the availability of an advanced video library depicting complicated open biliary procedures.
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