Computer simulation 'increasingly important' in surgeon training

29 August, 2014

Research has shown that surgical simulation can provide beneficial training resources for surgeons with participants in multidisciplinary sessions offering positive feedback.

The practice of simulation is a way for surgeons or general medical professionals to simulate surgical procedures using computer technology for the purpose of training.

An article in the latest Australia and New Zealand Journal of Surgery has found that simulation is playing an increasingly important role for successfully delivering training in technical as well as non-technical skills.

More emphasis on debriefing

A common point within the article was the high value given to the debriefing session after the simulations including the use of video recordings to facilitate discussion and teaching.

This gives trainees an opportunity to analyse and reflect on their performance, receive feedback and talk over what happened, leading to higher rates of retention.

The opportunities for training in these environments could be hugely beneficial, according to Guy Maddern from the Australian Safety and Efficacy Register of New Interventional Procedures and a Fellow of the Royal Australiasian College of Surgeons, said.

"This review shows that multidisciplinary team training for surgery is feasible and should be tailored to conditions and experiences in organisations," Professor Maddern said.

"Whether this change translates to actual practice is largely unknown at this stage, however that is why we think future research in this area should be more scientific, seeking to measure the impact of training on actual operative experience."

A review of relevant articles was undertaken, with most studies including descriptions of training programs with low-level evidence.

No randomised trials were included however other criteria for inclusion were a contained simulation component, included surgical trainees or surgeons in a multidisciplinary team, and were published between 1990 and 2012.