Computer Simulation and Digital Resources for Plastic Surgery Psychomotor Education

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Abstract

Summary:

Contemporary plastic surgery residents are increasingly challenged to learn a greater number of complex surgical techniques within a limited period. Surgical simulation and digital education resources have the potential to address some limitations of the traditional training model, and have been shown to accelerate knowledge and skills acquisition. Although animal, cadaver, and bench models are widely used for skills and procedure-specific training, digital simulation has not been fully embraced within plastic surgery. Digital educational resources may play a future role in a multistage strategy for skills and procedures training. The authors present two virtual surgical simulators addressing procedural cognition for cleft repair and craniofacial surgery. Furthermore, the authors describe how partnerships among surgical educators, industry, and philanthropy can be a successful strategy for the development and maintenance of digital simulators and educational resources relevant to plastic surgery training. It is our responsibility as surgical educators not only to create these resources, but to demonstrate their utility for enhanced trainee knowledge and technical skills development. Currently available digital resources should be evaluated in partnership with plastic surgery educational societies to guide trainees and practitioners toward effective digital content.

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