Trends and Results of the First Five Years of Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (fls) Certification Testing

Introduction: FLS is an educational program developed by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and endorsed by the American College of Surgeons. The goal of the FLS program is to teach and assess the basic cognitive and psychomotor skills required to perform laparoscopic surgery. The purpose of this study was to review the results from the first five years of FLS certification testing.

Methods: FLS test data were prospectively collected for all participants taking the FLS certification examination since its inception. De-identified data were reviewed and analyzed using standard descriptive statistics.

Results: The FLS examination was taken by 2189 participants between October 2004 and July 2009. There was a yearly increase in the number of individuals seeking FLS certification, with 13 participants tested in 2004, 65 in 2005, 141 in 2006, 366 in 2007, 588 in 2008, and 1016 in the first 7 months of 2009. Complete demographic information was available for approximately 1500 participants: 13% were junior residents (PGY 1-3), 67% were senior residents (PGY 4-5) or fellows, and 20% were attending surgeons. A breakdown of participants by specialty revealed that 84% were general surgeons, 7% gynecologists, 2% urologists, and 7% were labeled as other. The mean (SD) score on the cognitive exam was 519 (157) with a 93% pass rate. The mean score on the technical skills exam was 525 (117) with a 92% pass rate. After combining both scores, the overall FLS certification passing rate was 87%.

Conclusions: The FLS certification exam has gained widespread acceptance among laparoscopic surgeons in training and practice with a marked increase in testing since the American Board of Surgery mandate for certification was announced. The overall pass rate of 87% on the examination approaches the target pass rate of 90%, established during the test-setting process.

Session: Podium Presentation

Program Number: S030

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