The Importance of Colonoscopy in Colorectal Surgeonsʼ Practices: Results of a Survey
The role of colonoscopy in the prevention of colorectal cancer has been accepted, not only by the medical community but by the federal government as well. This study sought to document the current role of colonoscopy in the practices of colorectal surgeons. A survey was mailed to members of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons detailing the scope of colonoscopy in their practices. Surveys were mailed to 1,800 members of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons; responses were received from 778 (43.2 percent). The mean age was 48 +/- 10 (range, 27-79) years; the mean number of years in practice was 14 +/- 10 (range, 0.2-48). The majority of respondents (91 percent) were male. Responses were received from 47 U.S. states and 30 foreign countries. Seventy-four respondents (9.5 percent) reported not performing colonoscopy; the most common reason cited was "referring physicians' preference" (45 percent). Seven-hundred four respondents (90.5 percent) reported performing colonoscopy as part of their clinical practice and reported an average of 41 +/- 41 colonoscopies in the last month (range, 0-635) and 457 +/- 486 in the last year (range, 2-7,000). Colonoscopy accounted for 23 +/- 16 percent of responding physicians' clinical time (range, 1-100 percent) and 27 +/- 19 percent of total charges (range, 0-100 percent). Nearly all respondents (97 percent) anticipated maintaining or increasing their volume of colonoscopy in the coming year. Eighty-four percent of respondents reported receiving some or all of their training in colonoscopy during a colon and rectal surgery fellowship. More than one-half of respondents (55 percent) believed that there should be more of an emphasis on colonoscopy on the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery board examination, and 81 percent believed that the annual meeting of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons should include lectures and/or courses covering colonoscopy. Colonoscopy plays a major role in the practices of colorectal surgeons across the world, accounting for approximately one-quarter of clinical time and total charges. Based on the expectation that this trend will continue, The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons needs to aggressively support its members not only in the technical aspects of colonoscopy but also in the practice management issues.