SAGES safe cholecystectomy modules improve practicing surgeons' judgment: Results of a randomized, controlled trial


Background:Despite the advantages of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, major bile duct injury (BDI) rates during this operation remain unacceptably high. In October 2018, SAGES released the Safe Cholecystectomy modules, which define specific strategies to minimize the risk of BDI. This study aims to investigate whether this curriculum can change the knowledge and behaviors of surgeons in practice.

Methods:Practicing surgeons were recruited from the membership of SAGES and the American College of Surgeons Advisory Council for Rural Surgery. All participants completed a baseline assessment (pre-test) that involved interpreting cholangiograms, troubleshooting difficult cases, and managing BDI. Participants' dissection strategies during cholecystectomy were also compared to the strategies of a panel of 15 experts based on accuracy scores using the Think Like a Surgeon validated web-based platform. Participants were then randomized to complete the Safe Cholecystectomy modules (Safe Chole module group) or participate in usually scheduled CME activities (control group). Both groups completed repeat assessments (post-tests) one month after randomization.

Results:Overall, 41 participants were eligible for analysis, including 18 Safe Chole module participants and 23 controls. The two groups had no significant differences in pre-test scores. However, at post-test, Safe Chole module participants made significantly fewer errors managing BDI and interpreting cholangiograms. Safe Chole module participants were less likely to convert to an open operation on the post-test than controls when facing challenging dissections. However, Safe Chole module participants displayed a similar incidence of errors when evaluating adequate critical views of safety.

Conclusions:In this randomized-controlled trial, the SAGES Safe Cholecystectomy modules improved surgeons' abilities to interpret cholangiograms and safely manage BDI. Additionally, surgeons who studied the modules were less likely to convert to open during difficult dissections. These data show the power of the Safe Cholecystectomy modules to affect practicing surgeons' behaviors in a measurable and meaningful way.



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