Arthroscopy skills development with a surgical simulator: a comparative study in orthopaedic surgery residents

Am J Sports Med. 2015 Jun;43(6):1526-9. doi: 10.1177/0363546515574064. Epub 2015 Mar 13.


Background: Surgical simulation has become increasingly relevant to orthopaedic surgery education and could translate to improved operating room proficiency in orthopaedic surgery trainees.

Purpose: To compare the arthroscopic performance of junior orthopaedic surgery residents who received training with a knee and shoulder arthroscopy surgical simulator with those who received didactic training.

Study design: Controlled laboratory study.

Methods: Fourteen junior orthopaedic surgery residents at a single institution were randomized to receive knee and shoulder arthroscopy training with a surgical simulator (n = 8) or didactic lectures with arthroscopy models (n = 6). After their respective training, performance in diagnostic knee and shoulder arthroscopy was assessed using a cadaveric model. Time to completion and assessment of arthroscopic handling using a subjective injury grading index (scale, 1-10) was then used to evaluate performance in final cadaveric testing.

Results: Orthopaedic surgery residents who trained with a surgical simulator outperformed the didactic-trained residents in shoulder arthroscopy by time to completion (-35%; P = .02) and injury grading index (-35%; P = .01). In addition, a trend toward improved performance of knee arthroscopy by the simulator-trained group was found by time to completion (-36%; P = .09) and injury grading index (P = .08).

Conclusion: In this study, junior orthopaedic surgery residents who trained with a surgical simulator demonstrated improved arthroscopic performance in both knee and shoulder arthroscopy. However, future validation of surgical simulator training for orthopaedic surgery residents remains warranted.

Clinical relevance: Surgical skill development with an arthroscopy surgical simulator could translate to improved arthroscopy performance in the operating room.

Keywords: arthroscopy simulator; surgical education; surgical simulator; virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy / education*
  • Arthroscopy / instrumentation
  • Cadaver
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Orthopedic Procedures / education
  • Orthopedics / education*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery
  • Teaching / methods
  • Teaching Materials