Background: The use of animate training laboratories have been touted as an important part of a surgical resident's training. This study determines if there was any benefit in resident performance and whether that benefit persisted.
Methods: Twelve senior surgical residents attended a course in advanced laparoscopy with didactic and laboratory components. The residents' skills were tested by having them perform a laparoscopic fundoplication before, immediately after, and 6 months after the course. The procedure was videotaped, and divided into stages that were timed and scored by a single, masked observer.
Results: Overall performance score was 35.7 +/- 2.5 for the pretest, improving to 16.5 +/- 1.2 (P <0.05) immediately after the course, and 23.7 +/- 5.1 (P <0.05) at 6 months. Significant improvements were seen with trocar insertion, crural closure, division of short gastric arteries, and fundoplication.
Conclusions: The data presented demonstrate significant and persistent improvement in laparoscopic operative skills as a result of focused laboratory skill training.