3 years ago

Trends in the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery® (FLS) certification exam over the past 9 years

Pepa Kaneva, Steven D. Schwaitzberg, E. Matthew Ritter, Allan Okrainec, Melina C. Vassiliou, Elif Bilgic



The Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery® (FLS) certification exam assesses both cognitive and manual skills, and has been administered for over a decade. The purpose of this study is to report results over the past 9 years of testing in order to identify trends over time and evaluate the need to update scoring practices. This is a quality initiative of the SAGES FLS committee.


A representative sample of FLS exam data from 2008 to 2016 was analyzed. The de-identified data included demographics and scores for the cognitive and manual tests. Standard descriptive statistics were used to compare trends over the years, training levels, and to assess the pass/fail rate.


A total of 7232 FLS tests were analyzed [64% male, 6.4% junior (postgraduate year—PGY1–2), 84% senior (PGY3–5), 2.8% fellows (PGY6), and 6.7% attending surgeons (PGY7)]. Specialties included 93% general surgery (GS), 6.2% gynecology, and 0.9% urology. The Pearson correlation between cognitive and manual scores was 0.09. For the cognitive exam, there was an increase in scores over the years, and the most junior residents scored the lowest. For the manual skills, there were marginal differences in scores over the years, and junior residents scored the highest. The odds ratio of PGY3+ passing was 1.8 (CI 1.2–2.8) times higher than that of a PGY1–2. The internal consistency between tasks on the manual skills exam was 0.73. If any one of the tasks was removed, the Cronbach’s alpha dropped to between 0.65 and 0.71, depending on the task being removed.


The cognitive and manual components of FLS test different aspects of laparoscopy and demonstrate evidence for reliability and validity. More experienced trainees have a higher likelihood of passing the exam and tend to perform better on the cognitive skills. Each component of the manual skills contributes to the exam and should continue to be part of the test.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00464-017-5907-0

DOI: 10.1007/s00464-017-5907-0

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.