Soltani T, Hidas G, Kelly MS, Kaplan A, Selby B, Billimek J, Wehbi E, McDougall E, McAleer I, McLorie G, Khoury AE. Endoscopic correction of vesicoureteral reflux simulator curriculum as an effective teaching tool: Pilot study. J Pediatr Urol. 2016 Feb;12(1):45.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpurol.2015.06.017

PMID: 26350643


Introduction: It has been well recognized that simulators are effective tools to teach and evaluate technical skills in laparoscopic surgery. Endoscopic injection for the correction of vesicourteral reflux has a definite learning curve. Surgeon experience has also been demonstrated to have an important role in the outcome of the procedure. Simulated training allows for practice in a realistic setting without the inherent risk of harm to the patient. This stress free environment allows the trainee to focus on the acquisition of surgical skills without worry about surgical outcome.

Objective: The aim was to validate a porcine bladder simulator curriculum for training and assessment of the surgical skills for the endoscopic correction of vesicoureteral reflux.

Study design: We developed a porcine bladder-based dextranomer/hyaluronic acid (Dx/HA) injection simulator consisting of a dissected ex vivo porcine bladder in a polystyrene box with the distal ureters and urethra secured (Figure). We performed content validation by five experienced pediatric urologists. We then organized a simulator curriculum, which included lecture, demonstration, and a 2-h hands-on training on the simulator. Content, discriminant, and concurrent validation of the simulator curriculum were carried out using 11 urology trainees at different levels of expertise. All the trainees were evaluated for each step of the procedure of both their first and last performances on the simulator.

Results: Overall, the model demonstrated good content validity by all experts (mean questionnaire score 92%). The simulator curriculum demonstrated a significant improvement in the performance of the trainees between their first and last evaluations (56-92%; p = 0.008). Specific parts of the procedure that showed significant improvement (p < 0.05) were identification of the ureteral orifice, ureteral orifice hydrodistention, first and second injection, and location, size, and depth of the mound after injection.

Discussion: The Dx/HA endoscopic injection simulator is an effective training tool to improve the performance of the surgeon carrying out the procedure. This teaching tool may be used to help improve the performance of the surgeon carrying out the procedure. This teaching curriculum may shorten the early learning curve historically associated with the procedure and provide a greater understanding of the technical components of successful endoscopic vesicoureteral reflux correction. Additionally, the implementation of this simulator within the developed curriculum can improve the performance of training urologists in all steps of the challenging technique of Dx/HA needle injection confirming concurrent validity. The next step in evaluation of this surgical skill-training curriculum would be to determine if the improvement in skill performance observed during training translates to improved performance in the clinical realm, or predictive validity.

Limitations: Some small differences exist between the porcine model and human ureteral orifices. In the porcine model the ureteral orifices are located medially and distally in the bladder neck, which make injection more challenging. Participants suggested that after practicing with the simulator endoscopic injection to a human ureteral orifice would be easier.

Conclusion: The simulator curriculum was able to improve the performance of the surgeon carrying out the procedure during subsequent simulations.