Background: Endoscopy requires a unique set of skills that are difficult to acquire in most training programs. A method to test technical skills, in a validated manner, has rarely been attempted. The purpose of this study was to develop a technical skills examination for objective assessment in neuroendoscopic education.
Methods: 29 participants were included for analysis and divided by seniority level into two groups defined as ≤ postgraduation year (PGY) 5 (n = 17, junior surgeons) or > PGY5 (n = 12, senior surgeons). Study participants were assessed for baseline performance and then again following a four-hour neuroendoscopy course. Wilcoxon test was used to evaluate for performance differences between cohorts. Correlation analyses were performed using Pearson's or Spearman's coefficient.
Results: Increasing PGY level was correlated with a decreased average time to complete all three tasks (r = -0.44, p = 0.03) at baseline. Overall performance improved in both cohorts following the course (p < 0.001). When comparing junior surgeons after endoscopy training (posttest) to senior surgeons at their baseline (pretest), the junior surgeons were faster after endoscopic training than the senior surgeons were prior to training (p < 0.001). The performance differences between junior and senior surgeons lost significance after repeating the test (p = 0.053).
Conclusion: A neuroendoscopic skills test can distinguish between more or less experienced surgeons. Significant overall performance improvement, regardless of seniority level, following neuroendoscopic training demonstrates the accuracy of the test at detecting operating improvement in all stages of learning.
Keywords: endoscopic training; medical education; neuroendoscopy; skills evaluation; standardized model.
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