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January 1997

Invited Commentary

Author Affiliations

Mayo Clinic and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine Rochester, Minn

Arch Surg. 1997;132(1):45. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430250047010

The authors are to be congratulated on their analysis of such an impressive number of laparoscopic colectomies. The subject of the learning curve for this procedure is a very timely issue. The term "learning curve" is frequently used in the literature, but unfortunately is rarely defined clearly, the concept being left largely to the reader's imagination. Essentially it is a means of describing or quantifying a surgeon's ability to learn a new procedure. Parameters used to determine the learning curve for laparoscopic procedures include the number of cases required to acquire new skills,1 finding a decreased conversion rate to open colectomy,2,3 noting the progressive decrease in time required to perform the procedure,1,3,4 and observing the ability to perform more complex procedures within the same length of time.3 Possibly the most important information in this article concerns the complication rates encountered based on the number of cases

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