Advanced laparoscopic skills: Understanding the relationship between simulation-based practice and clinical performance

Am J Surg. 2019 Sep;218(3):527-532. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2019.01.024. Epub 2019 Jan 31.


Introduction: The advanced laparoscopic skills (ALS) curriculum was created to address the need for improved laparoscopic training for senior surgical trainees. It focuses on the domain of laparoscopic suturing and consists of 6 tasks with established proficiency benchmarks. Tasks are performed using a standard laparoscopic box trainer. This study examines whether practicing on the ALS curriculum could translate to improved clinical suturing.

Methods: Surgery residents from four institutions participated in the study. Performance of the 6 ALS tasks and performance of a porcine gastrojejunostomy (GJ) and Nissen fundoplication were assessed before and after training. Video-recorded performance was de-identified and scored by three experts using both time and a previously published assessment instrument. Paired t-tests examined performance differences before and after the curriculum. Pearson correlations examined the relationship between performance on the porcine and ALS tasks.

Results: Twelve residents (PGY1-8) from 4 institutions completed the study. Average practice time on ALS tasks was 6.25 weeks (range 1-14 weeks) and 254 min (range 140-600min). Combined ALS task time decreased from 2748s ± 603s to 1756s ± 281s (p < 0.001). Each of the 6 task times significantly improved (p < 0.05). Total errors decreased from 5.8 ± 3.2 to 3.7 ± 1.9 (p < 0.05). Average GJ times decreased from 1043s ± 698s to 643s ± 183s (p = 0.055). Average Nissen times decreased from 990s ± 531s to 685s ± 265s (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Dedicated practice on the six ALS tasks led to decreased suturing time and fewer errors when completing both GJ and Nissen suturing in a porcine model. Further studies will be undertaken to determine the optimal application of the ALS task set in advanced laparoscopic training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum*
  • Fundoplication*
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Laparoscopy / education*
  • Simulation Training*
  • Suture Techniques / education*
  • Suture Techniques / standards
  • Swine