INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to investigate possible relationship between surgical experience and septoplasty-related data and to determine the learning curve based on surgery duration.
METHODS: The first 60 septoplasty patients of four Ear, Nose and Throat residents who completed an 18-month residency training in our clinic between August 2015 and December 2017 were included in the study. A total of 240 patients (155 males, 85 females; mean age 32.8±10.6 years; range, 17 to 60 years) were evaluated. The first 10 patients were grouped as Group A, 11-20 patients as Group B, 21-30 patients as Group C, 31-40 patients as Group D, 41-50 patients as Group E, and 51-60 patients as Group F. The patients files were retrospectively reviewed to obtain information on demographics, postoperative hospital stay, complications, revision operation requirements, and operation time. The mean operation time was calculated. Duration of surgery was used to evaluate the maturity of surgical skills.
RESULTS: The mean operation time was 60.0±17.3 min. The mean operation times of the patients in Group A and Group B were significantly longer than that of the patients in Group C, Group D, Group E, and Group F. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of length of hospital stay, complications, and revision rates.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: As the surgeon's experience increases, the operation time decreases, and after 20 patients, it reaches the plateau level. Based on these data, it can be concluded that ENT residents should practice more than 20 patients to learn the septoplasty procedure sufficiently.