UK HealthCare approved as a Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) Testing Center

By Josh Shepherd

*NOTE: Not long after UK HealthCare received FLS Testing Center approval, the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) temporarily closed all testing centers from March 27 – April 30 as a preventative measure in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Notification will be sent to residents and departments when the UK Center re-commences FLS Testing.

Dr. Crystal Totten

In March 2020, the University of Kentucky was approved as a Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) Testing Center by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). Dr. Crystal Totten, a surgeon and member of the GI and Minimally Invasive Surgery faculty, will serve as the UK FLS Center Director.

Residents in a General Surgery or OB/GYN program in the United States are required to complete FLS testing prior to board certification. Passing this test is widely acknowledged as a measure of competency for performing laparoscopic or other minimally invasive surgical procedures that are paramount to the world of surgery.

“As an FLS Testing Center, our residents can now schedule and take the FLS test in-house rather than previously traveling to Louisville or Cincinnati. This is an enormous convenience to our residents,” Dr. Totten said. "Furthermore, we are able to function as an affiliated FLS testing center for residents at UK’s partner locations in Northern Kentucky, Bowling Green, and Morehead and neighboring programs including Marshall."

FLS Testing at UK HealthCare will be available in our CATS lab located on the first floor of the College of Nursing building by appointment only* (SEE NOTE ABOVE). Michael Jax, Manager of the Center for Advanced Training and Simulation (CATS) Lab, and Sara Brown, a GME Program Coordinator for General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, have been trained as test proctors.

There are two basic components of FLS Testing. The written component, testing cognitive knowledge, consists of a timed, multiple choice exam. The manual skills component will evaluate residents using the surgical simulation resources of the CATS lab. Residents will demonstrate their mastery of basic laparoscopic skills in five simulation exercises.

Since the FLS Testing Center is a new designation within the UK College of Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education program, testing is open to all residents. This will allow General Surgery and OB/GYN residents the opportunity to fulfill testing requirements early, learn where they may need additional experience, and streamline their progress toward competency and board certification.