Recovery of Surgical Training Through Extended Laparoscopic Simulation Training

Cureus. 2021 Oct 12;13(10):e18695. doi: 10.7759/cureus.18695. eCollection 2021 Oct.


Introduction The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has adversely affected surgical training internationally. Laparoscopic surgery has a steep learning curve necessitating repetitive procedural practice. We evaluate the efficacy of short- and long-duration simulation training on participant skill acquisition to support the recovery of surgical training. Methods A prospective, observational study involving 18 novice medical students enrolled in a five-week course. Nodal timed assessments involved three tasks: hoop placement, stacking of sugar cubes and surgical cutting. One month post-completion, we compared the ability of six novice course participants to that of six surgical trainees who completed a smaller portion of the course curriculum. Results Course participants (n=18) completed tasks 111% faster on their third and last course attempt. The surgical trainee group (n=6) took 46% longer to complete tasks compared to the six re-invited course participants, whose ability continued to advance on their fourth effort with a combined 154% earlier completion time compared to try one. Conclusions This study supports the adoption of a structured, extended, regular and spaced-out simulation course or curriculum to cultivate greater skill acquisition and retention amongst surgical trainees, and improve patient care.

Keywords: laparoscopic skills; laparoscopic surgery; simulation training; surgical residency program; training recovery.