Background: There has been debate on the feasibility of incorporating minimally invasive surgery (MIS) into surgical practice in developing countries due to resource and training limitations. Our study establishes the current and desired state of MIS training in surgical residency programmes in the Caribbean.
Methods: An adapted version of a previously administered questionnaire was issued to surgeons and residents involved in the general surgical residency programme of The University of the West Indies in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 17.0.
Results: The questionnaire was sent to 41 surgeons and 41 residents with a 65% response rate. Most residents had performed less than 25 basic laparoscopic procedures. Up to 82% of residents felt that they would be unable to perform advanced laparoscopic procedures due to lack of training. The principal negative factors influencing MIS training included lack of operating room time, lack of equipment and lack of preceptor expertise. Both surgeons (83.4%) and residents (93.4%) strongly felt that a surgical skills laboratory would be helpful for the acquisition of MIS skills. Both surgeons (85.7%) and residents (100%) felt that there was a role for an MIS surgeon in fulfilling training obligations.
Conclusion: The basic and advanced MIS experience of residents in the Caribbean is limited. Surgeon training and resource limitations are major contributing factors. There is a strong desire on the part of surgeons and residents alike for the incorporation of more effective MIS training into the residency programme in the Caribbean.