Introduction: Laparoscopic techniques are commonly used in abdominal and gynecologic surgery, while breast cancer surgery has remained largely unchanged. In Asia, especially in Japan, many surgeons have started to use endoscopic surgery for breast cancer. In Taiwan, endoscopy-assisted breast surgery started in 2010. The benefits of this surgical method include smaller incisions, an axillary anatomic approach, clear vision, no oncologic compromise, and good cosmetic outcomes. This is the first report to discuss the learning curve of endoscopy-assisted breast surgery, including the difficulties experienced. Materials and methods: From June 2011 to December 2013, data were collected from 134 patients who received an endoscopic total mastectomy at the Taipei Medical University Hospital (TMUH) or Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH). We divided these patients into a learning group (TMUH, n = 15; CCH, n = 15) and a mature group (TMUH, n = 50; CCH, n = 54). Patient data and perioperative variables were recorded by retrospective chart review. Variables were compared using the χ2 test and Student's t-test. Results: There was a significant difference in operation time (275.3 vs. 228.9 minutes, p < 0.01) between the learning and mature groups. Perioperative variables (lymph node dissection method, nipple preservation, and reconstruction method) were also analyzed, but there were no demographic differences between the groups. The complication rate was higher in the learning group, although this difference was also not statistically significant. Conclusion: Our study is the first to discuss the learning curve of endoscopic total mastectomy. The operation time decreased significantly after 15 cases at each hospital. Although the operation is still more time-consuming than traditional methods, it has the benefit of smaller wounds and improved cosmetic outcomes if combined with immediate reconstruction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)