Laparoscopic training is available to individuals training to be a doctor, as part of a general surgery residency, and to doctors who are part of a laparoscopic fellowship program. Surgery done by laparoscopic techniques is completed using a small incision and tools guided through the use of computer imaging. A camera is placed on the end of laparoscope, allowing the surgeon to complete the operation without exposing the internal area. The use of these tools requires a skill set distinct from what is learned in general surgery, so special training using the equipment is necessary. Medical training programs differ by region, but laparoscopic training is generally completed as part of surgery education.
In most countries, medical training to become a doctor is completed in several distinct stages, and each offers the chance to complete some level of laparoscopic training. Students first attend medical school where they learn general medical knowledge and are exposed to a wide variety of medical specialties, including surgery. While in medical school, students are not yet considered doctors and will not be allowed to perform laparoscopic surgery, but they will probably watch it being performed by attending surgeons and surgery residents. This is valuable training for students because it allows them to grasp the basics of surgery that is necessary to form the foundation for further laparoscopic training.
After graduating medical school, students are considered doctors and must choose a specific specialty to receive further training in a residency program. Surgical residents receive their first hands-on laparoscopic training in this portion of their education. Some countries and regions have varying levels of surgical training where students are exposed to laparoscopy. For example, some areas complete medical education directly after high school, combining college and medical school.
During residency or the equivalent surgery training periods, doctors perform all different types of surgery under the supervision of attending surgeons and more experienced residents. These individuals instruct the residents in the different types of surgery that use laparoscopy, such as pancreas operations and appendix removal.
Once residency is completed, surgeons have the choice to complete further laparoscopic training and become a laparoscopic specialist by attending a laparoscopic fellowship. This training is considered an extension of the residency years and is offered to doctors who have finished a surgical residency. Programs are offered both in general laparoscopy and within specific fields such as gynecology and endourology.