Video-assisted mini-laparotomy surgery (VAMS), a hybrid of open and laparoscopic surgical techniques, is an important surgical approach in the field of partial nephrectomy. The learning curve for VAMS partial nephrectomy has not been studied to date; we therefore, evaluated this learning curve. We prospectively evaluated 20 consecutive patients who underwent VAMS partial nephrectomy performed by a single surgeon (YEY) between March 2015 and December 2016. The learning curve was evaluated using the cumulative sum method. The measure of surgical performance was composed of 3 parameters (total operation time [Op time], warm ischemic time [WIT], and estimated blood loss [EBL]). Among the 20 patients who underwent VAMS partial nephrectomy, the mean age was 54.6 years. The mean Op time and WIT were 172.5 and 28.8 minutes, respectively. The learning curve for the Op time, WIT, and EBL consisted of 3 unique phases: phase 1 (the first 7 cases), phase 2 (the next 5 to 7 cases), and phase 3 (all subsequent cases). Phase 1 represents the initial learning curve, and the phase 2 plateau represents the period of expert competency. Phase 3 represents when one is competent in VAMS partial nephrectomy. The learning curve for VAMS partial nephrectomy is relatively short and after a learning curve of approximately 7 cases, the surgeon became familiar with VAMS partial nephrectomy; after 12 to 14 cases, the surgeon became competent in this procedure. Abbreviations: ASA = American Society of Anesthesiologists, BMI = body mass index, BSA = body surface area, CUSUM = cumulative sum, EBL = estimated blood loss, LPN = laparoscopic partial nephrectomy, Op = operation, RALPN = robot-assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy, VAMS = video-assisted mini-laparotomy surgery, WIT = warm ischemic time.
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