Cleft palate repair is a challenging procedure for cleft surgeons to teach. A novel high-fidelity cleft palate simulator has been described for surgeon training. This study evaluates the simulator’s effect on surgeon procedural confidence and palatoplasty knowledge among learners.Methods:
Plastic surgery trainees attended a palatoplasty workshop consisting of a didactic session on cleft palate anatomy and repair followed by a simulation session. Participants completed a procedural confidence questionnaire and palatoplasty knowledge test immediately before and after the workshop.Results:
All participants reported significantly higher procedural confidence following the workshop (p < 0.05). Those with cleft palate surgery experience had higher procedural confidence before (p < 0.001) and after (p < 0.001) the session. Palatoplasty knowledge test scores increased in 90 percent of participants. The mean baseline test score was 28 ± 10.89 percent and 43 ± 18.86 percent following the workshop. Those with prior cleft palate experience did not have higher mean baseline test scores than those with no experience (30 percent versus 28 percent; p > 0.05), but did have significantly higher scores after the workshop (61 percent versus 35 percent; p < 0.05). All trainees strongly agreed or agreed that the simulator should be integrated into training and they would use it again.Conclusions:
This study demonstrates the effective use of a novel cleft palate simulator as a training tool to teach palatoplasty. Improved procedural confidence and knowledge were observed after a single session, with benefits seen among trainees both with and without previous cleft experience.