World Journal of Laparoscopic Surgery

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VOLUME 1 , ISSUE 1 ( January-April, 2008 ) > List of Articles


The Impact of the Learning Curve in Laparoscopic Surgery

Rehana Jabeen Raja

Citation Information : Raja RJ. The Impact of the Learning Curve in Laparoscopic Surgery. World J Lap Surg 2008; 1 (1):56-59.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10007-1048

Published Online: 01-08-2010

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2008; The Author(s).


TP Wright originally introduced the concept of a learning curve in aircraft manufacturing in 1936.1 He described a basic theory for costing the repetitive production of airplane assemblies. The term was introduced to medicine in the 1980s after the advent of minimal access surgery. It also caught the attention of the public and the legal profession when a surgeon told a public enquiry in Britain that a high death rate was inevitable while surgeons were on a learning curve.2 Recently it has been labeled as a dangerous curve3 with a morbidity, mortality and unproven outcomes. Yet there is no standardization of what the term means. In an endeavor to help laparoscopic surgeons towards evidence based practices this commentary will define and describe the learning curve, its drawing followed by a discussion of the factors affecting it, statistical evaluation, effect on randomized controlled trials and clinical implications for both practice and training, the limitations and pitfalls, ethical dilemmas and some thoughts to pave the way ahead.

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