The use of a "hybrid" trainer in an established laparoscopic skills program.

James C. Rosser, Brian J. Colsant, Paul J. Lynch, Björn Herman, Jonathan Klonsky, Steven M. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Tabletop inanimate trainers have proven to be a safe, inexpensive, and convenient platform for developing laparoscopic skills. Historically, programs that utilize these trainers rely on subjective evaluation of errors and time as the only measures of performance. Virtual reality simulators offer more extensive data collection capability, but they are expensive and lack realism. This study reviews a new electronic proctor (EP), and its performance within the Rosser Top Gun Laparoscopic Skills and Suturing Program. This "hybrid" training device seeks to capture the strengths of both platforms by providing an affordable, reliable, realistic training arena with metrics to objectively evaluate performance. METHODS: An electronic proctor was designed for use in conjunction with drills from the Top Gun Program. The tabletop trainers used were outfitted with an automated electromechanically monitored task arena. Subjects performed 10 repetitions of each of 3 drills: "Cup Drop," "Triangle Transfer," and "Intracorporeal Suturing." In real time, this device evaluates for instrument targeting accuracy, economy of motion, and adherence to the rules of the exercises. A buzzer and flashing light serve to alert the student to inaccuracies and breaches of the defined skill transference parameters. RESULTS: Between July 2001 and June 2003, 117 subjects participated in courses. Seventy-three who met data evaluation criteria were assessed and compared with 744 surgeons who had previously taken the course. The total time to complete each task was significantly longer with the EP in place. The Cup Drop drill with the EP had a mean total time of 1661 seconds (average, 166.10) with 54.49 errors (average, 5.45) vs. 1252 seconds (average, 125.2) without the EP (P = 0.000, t = 6.735, df = 814). The Triangle Transfer drill mean total time was 556 seconds (average, 55.63) and 167.57 errors (average. 16.75) (EP) vs. 454 seconds (non-EP) (average. 45.4) (P = 0.000, t = 4.447, df = 814). The mean total times of the suturing task was 1777 seconds (average, 177.73) and 90.46 errors (average. 9.04) (EP) vs. 1682 seconds (non-EP) (average, 168.2) (P = 0.040, t = 1.150, df = 814). When compared with surgeons who had participated in the Top Gun course prior to EP, the participants in the study collectively scored in the 18.3th percentile with the Cup Drop drill, 22.6th percentile with the Triangle Transfer drill, and 36.7th percentile with the Intracorporeal Suturing exercise. When penalizing for errors recorded by the EP, participants scored collectively in the 9.9th, 0.1th, and 17.7th percentile, respectively. No equipment failures occurred, and the agenda of the course did not have to be modified to accommodate the new platform. CONCLUSIONS: The EP utilized during the Top Gun Course was introduced without modification of the core curriculum and experienced no device failures. This hybrid trainer offers a cost-effective inanimate simulator that brings quality performance monitoring to traditional inanimate trainers. It appears that the EP influenced student performance by alerting them to errors made, thus causing an increased awareness of and focus on precision and accuracy. This suggests that the EP could have internal guidance capabilities. However, validation studies must be done in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-10
Number of pages7
JournalJSLS : Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons / Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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