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Dan Med J. 2018 Dec;65(12). pii: A5519.

Basic open surgical training course.

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Fewer open surgical procedures are performed, and thus a need to learn open surgical techniques outside the operating room has emerged. Simulation training offers the possibility to train in a safe environment before operating on patients. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of a simulation-based course in basic open surgical skills and to describe its pedagogical foundation, content and organisation.


Surgical trainees at the beginning of their surgical career participated in a basic open surgical skills course and were assessed before the course, after the course and during a one-day course operating on live sedated pigs using the Objective Structures Assessment of Technical Skills (OSATS) instrument.


We found that the course participants matched the target group. The participants' OSATS score increased from 12.1 in the pre-test to 19.9 points (p < 0.0001) in the post-test. The completion rate was 99% and the failure rate was 11%. The course met 13 out of 14 requirements for a simulation-based course.


The basic open surgical skills course teaches trainees the basic skills for open surgery including knot tying, suturing, dissection and surgical assistance. The course significantly increases the participants' surgical abilities and meets requirements for a well-structured simulation course.


Equipment was provided by Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation, Capital Region, Copenhagen, Denmark. The authors have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


The study did not require registration as this is a retrospective quality control study using anonymised participant data.


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