Objective evaluation of a laparoscopic surgical skill program for residents and senior surgeons

J C Rosser, L E Rosser, R S Savalgi
Archives of Surgery 1998, 133 (6): 657-61

BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic surgery adapts poorly to apprenticeship models for general surgical training. Standardized skill acquisition and validation programs, targeted performance goals, and a supervised, enforced, skill-based curriculum that readily can be shared between trainee and instructor must replace the observation and incremental skill-acquisition model used in an open surgical environment. The Yale Laparoscopic Skills and Suturing Program was used to develop a data bank for objective evaluation of dexterity and suturing skills for laparoscopic surgical training. The current study compares trainee and senior surgeon performance in this standardized training program.

OBJECTIVE: To compare objectively evaluated laparoscopic surgical skills and suturing capability of senior surgeons and of residents after they have completed the same standardized training regimen.

METHODS: Two hundred ninety-one trained surgeons performed 8730 standardized laparoscopic dexterity drills and 2910 intracorporeal suturing exercises in the Yale Laparoscopic Skills and Suturing Program. Their performance was supervised by an instructor who recorded performance and timing of the tasks in a 2 1/2-day program. Ninety-nine residents performed the same drills and exercises the same number of times and followed the same technique for intracorporeal suturing. Percentile graphs were prepared for each type of drill and suturing exercise to allow comparison of levels of achievement among different training groups.

RESULTS: The performance of the residents was the same as that of trained surgeons for the rope pass drill and the suturing exercise. Residents in comparison with trained surgeons performed the triangle transfer drill faster and the new cup drop drill and old cup drop drill more slowly. There was no significant difference in performance between male and female residents.

CONCLUSION: Basic skills relevant to laparoscopic performance can be acquired with a high level of competence in a brief course unrelated to prior surgical experience, sex, or age.

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