• laparoscopic nephrectomy;
  • training;
  • mentorship;
  • audit;
  • clinical governance


To review the results of our experience with a mentorship programme in laparoscopic nephrectomy, set up in 1999 by the British Association of Urological Surgeons Section of Endourology.


Mentors were contacted in 2007 to submit data on the number of visits and the outcome, which included whether a urologist was able to establish an independent laparoscopic practice and sustain it.


Four urologists acting as mentors reported a total of 164 procedures carried out in the training of 39 urologists during 148 visits. There were no conversions to open surgery and only one major complication. Overall, 29 of 39 mentored consultants were able to establish an independent laparoscopic practice and 23 continue to do so. The number of visits was associated with initial success, although this was not statistically significant. Working in a large department was associated with being able to sustain a laparoscopic practice. More experienced consultants were less likely to have initial success, but were more likely to sustain a successful practice.


Mentorship for laparoscopic nephrectomy has been carried out safely thus far. Sustaining a laparoscopic practice requires a critical volume of cases. Future efforts should be focused on trainees rather than consultants.