van Empel PJ, van der Veer WM, van Rijssen LB, Cuesta MA, Scheele F, Bonjer HJ, Meijerink WJ. Mapping the maze of minimally invasive surgery simulators. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2012 Jan-Feb;22(1):51-60

PMID: 22145607


Background: Conforming to, among other considerations, legal and ethical concerns for patient safety, there is an increasing demand to assess a surgeon's skills prior to performance in the operating room in pursuit of higher-quality treatment. Training in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) must therefore be intensified, including team training. New methods to train and assess minimally invasive surgical skills are gaining interest. The goal of this review is to provide instructors with an overview of available MIS training tools. In this review, we discuss currently available simulators for MIS training. Applicability, validity, and construction of simulators are reviewed. Also, some of the leading training programs and assessment methods in MIS are reviewed.

Methods: A literature search was performed on studies evaluating surgical task performance on a simulator, reviewing satisfaction with laparoscopic training programs, or validating simulators or assessment methods.

Results: Simulators may be divided into simple box trainers and computer-based systems, such as virtual and augmented simulators. All have advantages and disadvantages. An overview is provided of currently available training systems, validity, trainee assessment, and the importance of training programs in MIS.

Conclusions: No simulator yet provides the ability to train the entire set of required psychomotor skills or procedures for MIS. A multiyear training program combining various simulators for multiple-level training, including team training, should be constructed.