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Simulation-based training assumes that skills are directly transferable to the patient-based setting, but few studies have correlated simulated performance with surgical performance.A systematic search strategy was undertaken to find studies published since the last systematic review, published in 2007. Inclusion of articles was determined using a predetermined protocol, independent assessment by two reviewers and a final consensus decision. Studies that reported on the use of surgical simulation-based training and assessed the transferability of the acquired skills to a patient-based setting were included.Twenty-seven randomized clinical trials and seven non-randomized comparative studies were included. Fourteen studies investigated laparoscopic procedures, 13 endoscopic procedures and seven other procedures. These studies provided strong evidence that participants who reached proficiency in simulation-based training performed better in the patient-based setting than their counterparts who did not have simulation-based training. Simulation-based training was equally as effective as patient-based training for colonoscopy, laparoscopic camera navigation and endoscopic sinus surgery in the patient-based setting.These studies strengthen the evidence that simulation-based training, as part of a structured programme and incorporating predetermined proficiency levels, results in skills transfer to the operative setting.