Establishing the minimal number of virtual reality simulator training sessions necessary to develop basic laparoscopic skills competence: Evaluation of the learning curve - Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Medical literature is scarce on information to define a basic skills training program for laparoscopic surgery (peg and transferring, cutting, clipping). The aim of this study was to determine the minimal number of simulator sessions of basic laparoscopic tasks necessary to elaborate an optimal virtual reality training curriculum.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eleven medical students with no previous laparoscopic experience were spontaneously enrolled. They were submitted to simulator training sessions starting at level 1 (Immersion Lap VR, San Jose, CA), including sequentially camera handling, peg and transfer, clipping and cutting. Each student trained twice a week until 10 sessions were completed. The score indexes were registered and analyzed. The total of errors of the evaluation sequences (camera, peg and transfer, clipping and cutting) were computed and thereafter, they were correlated to the total of items evaluated in each step, resulting in a success percent ratio for each student for each set of each completed session. Thereafter, we computed the cumulative success rate in 10 sessions, obtaining an analysis of the learning process. By non-linear regression the learning curve was analyzed.

RESULTS: By the non-linear regression method the learning curve was analyzed and a r2 = 0.73 (p < 0.001) was obtained, being necessary 4.26 (∼five sessions) to reach the plateau of 80% of the estimated acquired knowledge, being that 100% of the students have reached this level of skills. From the fifth session till the 10th, the gain of knowledge was not significant, although some students reached 96% of the expected improvement.

CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed that after five simulator training sequential sessions the students' learning curve reaches a plateau. The forward sessions in the same difficult level do not promote any improvement in laparoscopic basic surgical skills, and the students should be introduced to a more difficult training tasks level.

Written by:
Duarte RJ1, Cury J, Oliveira LC, Srougi M   Are you the author?
1Sao Paulo University Medical School - CEPEC Vicky Safra - Department of Urology, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Reference: Int Braz J Urol. 2013 Sep-Oct;39(5):712-9
doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2013.05.14

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 24267114 Endourology Section