Background: The introduction of laparoscopic techniques to general surgery was associated with many unnecessary complications, which led to the development of skills laboratories to train novice laparoscopic surgeons. This article reviews the tools currently available for training and assessment in laparoscopic surgery.
Methods: Medline searches were performed to identify articles with combinations of the following key words: laparoscopy, training, curriculum, virtual reality and assessment. Further articles were obtained by manually searching the reference lists of identified papers.
Results: Current training involves the use of box trainers with either innate models or animal tissues; it lacks objective assessment of skill acquisition. Virtual reality simulators have the ability to teach laparoscopic psychomotor skills, and objective assessment is now possible using dexterity-based and video analysis systems.
Conclusion: The tools are now available for the development of a structured, competency-based, laparoscopic surgical training programme.
Copyright 2004 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd.