Impact of visualization on simulation training for vascular anastomosis

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Abstract

Objective:

There is mounting evidence supporting the benefit of surgical simulation on the learning of skills independently and in a patient-safe environment. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of visualization of surgical steps via instructional media on performance of an end-to-side microvascular anastomosis.

Methods:

Thirty-two first- and second-year surgical trainees from the University of Ottawa received an expert-guided, didactic lecture on vascular anastomosis and performed an end-to-side anastomosis on a procedural model to assess baseline skills. Assessments were performed by 2 blinded, expert observers using validated measurements of skill. Subjects were then proctored to perform anastomoses using the model. Subjects were then randomized to watch an instructional video on performance of vascular anastomosis using visualization as the education strategy. One week later, subjects were again assessed for technical skill on the model. The primary outcome was the score achieved on the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill (OSATS) scale. Secondary outcomes included an anastomosis-specific End-Product Rating Score and time to completion.

Results:

Compared with residents who received expert-guided simulator training alone, those who used the supplementary multimedia scored significantly greater on OSATS (17.4 ± 2.9 vs 14.2 ± 3.2, P = .0013) and on End-Product Rating Score (11.24 ± 3.0 vs 7.4 ± 4.1, P = .011). However, performance time did not differ between groups (15.7 vs 14.3 minutes, P = .79).

Conclusions:

Residents with supplemental instructional media performed an end-to-side anastomosis more proficiently as assessed by OSATS and with a greater quality end-product. This suggests that both didactic simulation training as well as use of visualization multimedia improves learning and performance of vascular anastomosis and should be incorporated into surgical curricula.

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