Parente G, De Marziani L, Cordola C, Gargano T, Libri M, Lima M. Training minimally invasive surgery's basic skills: is expensive always better? . Pediatr Surg Int. 2021 Sep;37(9):1287-1293

PMID: 34110478


Introduction: Not all hospitals have a MIS training facility because often training is not a main corporate objective and could require lots of money. We tried to build a laparoscopic simulator that was effective and that would allow to carry out an adequate laparoscopic training similar to that obtained with the models normally used in MIS training programs. To construct a box trainer that would achieve the equivalent results than those usually used. A validation study was carried out by evaluating the content validity and construct validity of our simulator in addition a comparison study of our homemade trainer vs Karl Storz box trainer was performed.

Material and methods: The HM laparoscopic trainer was assembled using a wood frame. Two LED lights were positioned on the inside roof of the trainer and a webcam was positioned through a special support as operative optic. The webcam was then connected to a PC and the latter was used as a monitor for the operator. Participants were 20 students and a group of 6 surgeons. Students were prospectively randomized to perform 4 of the 5 tasks of the fundamental laparoscopic surgery (FLS) program on both the HM trainer and the KS trainer (pegboard transfer, pattern cut, placement of ligating loop and intracorporeal knot suture). Simple paired t test was performed to compare times between the trainers. Then students performed two more sets of exercises on the HM. The group of surgeons performed three sets of the same exercises performed by the students on the HM. The time taken by surgeons and students to complete the exercises was compared using t test. At the end, all the participants carried out a questionnaire to evaluate their experience with the HM box trainer. For the questionnaire it was chosen to use a Linkert 1-5 scale (1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = undecided; 4 = agree; 5 = strongly agree).

Results: HM vs KS BT: Comparing time to complete the 4 tasks performed by students on both the BT, for the first task the p value was 0.30, for the second task 0.48, for the third task 0.80, for the fourth task 0.93, and for the total time 0.86. The comparison between the mean time of the first set of tasks of the participants who started with the HM BT and one of the participants who started on the KS p value was 1 p = 0.09; task 2 p = 0.32; task 3 p = 0.62; task 4 p = 0.32; total time p = 0.81. The comparison between the meantime of the second set of tasks of the participants who switched to the HM BT with the one of those who switched to the KS BT showed a p value of: p = 0.20 tasks 1 p = 0.53 task 2; p = 0.39 task 3; p = 0.30 task 4; p = 0.56 total time. Construct validity: The mean experts and students time of every single task and the total one showed a p value of: p < 0.01 for task 1; p < 0.01 task 2; p < 0.01 task 3; p < 0.01 task 4; p < 0.01 total time. Content validity: Both experts and students indicated the HM BT as a useful training tool and appreciated its easy use. Both groups would use it at home if it were available.

Conclusion: Valid MIS trainer can be easily built at home with few low-cost materials. Our study shows how training programs can be structured even with few resources in a creative and innovative way.