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J Am Coll Surg. 2005 Jul;201(1):23-9.

Simulator training for laparoscopic suturing using performance goals translates to the operating room.

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Department of Surgery, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.



The purpose of this study was to develop a performance-based laparoscopic suturing curriculum using simulators and to test the effectiveness (transferability) of the curriculum.


Surgical residents (PGY1 to PGY5, n = 17) proficient in basic skills, but with minimal laparoscopic suturing experience, were enrolled in an IRB-approved, randomized controlled protocol. Subjects viewed an instructional video and were pretested on a live porcine laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication model by placing three gastrogastric sutures tied in an intracorporeal fashion. A blinded rater objectively scored each knot based on a previously published formula (600 minus completion time [sec] minus penalties for accuracy and knot integrity errors). Subjects were stratified according to pretest scores and randomized. The trained group practiced on a videotrainer suturing model until an expert-derived proficiency score (512) was achieved on 12 attempts. The control group received no training. Both the trained and control groups were posttested on the porcine Nissen model.


For the training group, mean time to demonstrate simulator proficiency was 151 minutes (range 107 to 224 minutes) and mean number of attempts was 37 (range 24 to 51 attempts). Both the trained and control groups demonstrated significant improvement in overall score from baseline. But the trained group performed significantly better than the control group at posttesting (389 +/- 70 versus 217 +/- 140, p < 0.001), confirming curriculum effectiveness.


These data suggest that training to a predetermined expert level on a videotrainer suture model provides trainees with skills that translate into improved operative performance. Such curricula should be further developed and implemented as a means of ensuring proficiency.

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