Theman TA, Labow BI. Is There Bias against Simulation in Microsurgery Training? J Reconstr Microsurg. 2016 Sep;32(7):540-5

PMID: 27077211


Background While other surgical specialties have embraced virtual reality simulation for training and recertification, microsurgery has lagged. This study aims to assess the opinions of microsurgeons on the role of simulation in microsurgery assessment and training. Methods We surveyed faculty members of the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery to ascertain opinions on their use of simulation in training and opinions about the utility of simulation for skills acquisition, teaching, and skills assessment. The 21-question survey was disseminated online to 675 members. Results Eighty-nine members completed the survey for a 13.2% response rate. Few microsurgeons have experience with high-fidelity simulation, and opinions on its utility are internally inconsistent. Although 84% of respondents could not identify a reason why simulation would not be useful, only 24% believed simulation is a useful measure of clinical performance. Nearly three-fourths of respondents were skeptical that simulation would improve their skills. Ninety-four percent had no experience with simulator-based assessment. Conclusion Simulation has been shown to improve skills acquisition in microsurgery, but our survey suggests that unfamiliarity may foster bias against the technology. Failure to incorporate simulation may adversely affect training and may put surgeons at a disadvantage should these technologies be adopted for recertification by regulatory agencies.