Background: Advanced surgical skills such as laparoscopic suturing are difficult to learn in an operating room environment. The use of simulation within a defined skills-training curriculum is attractive for instructor, trainee, and patient. This study examined the impact of a curriculum-based approach to laparoscopic suturing and knot tying.
Study design: Senior surgery residents in a university-based general surgery residency program were prospectively enrolled and randomized to receive either a simulation-based laparoscopic suturing curriculum (TR group, n=11) or standard clinical training (NR group, n=11). During a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, placement of two consecutive intracorporeally knotted sutures was video recorded for analysis. Operative performance was assessed by two reviewers blinded to subject training status using a validated, error-based system to an interrater agreement of >or=80%. Performance measures assessed were time, errors, and needle manipulations, and comparisons between groups were made using an unpaired t-test.
Results: Compared with NR subjects, TR subjects performed significantly faster (total time, 526+/-189 seconds versus 790+/-171 seconds; p < 0.004), made significantly fewer errors (total errors, 25.6+/-9.3 versus 37.1+/-10.2; p < 0.01), and had 35% fewer excess needle manipulations (18.5+/-10.5 versus 27.3+/-8.6; p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Subjects who receive simulation-based training demonstrate superior intraoperative performance of a highly complex surgical skill. Integration of such skills training should become standard in a surgical residency's skills curriculum.