Objective: A systematic review to determine whether skills acquired through simulation-based training transfer to the operating room for the procedures of laparoscopic cholecystectomy and endoscopy.
Background: Simulation-based training assumes that skills are directly transferable to the operation room, but only a few studies have investigated the effect of simulation-based training on surgical performance.
Methods: A systematic search strategy that was used in 2006 was updated to retrieve relevant studies. Inclusion of articles was determined using a predetermined protocol, independent assessment by 2 reviewers, and a final consensus decision.
Results: Seventeen randomized controlled trials and 3 nonrandomized comparative studies were included in this review. In most cases, simulation-based training was in addition to patient-based training programs. Only 2 studies directly compared simulation-based training in isolation with patient-based training. For laparoscopic cholecystectomy (n = 10 studies) and endoscopy (n = 10 studies), participants who reached simulation-based skills proficiency before undergoing patient-based assessment performed with higher global assessment scores and fewer errors in the operating room than their counterparts who did not receive simulation training. Not all parameters measured were improved. Two of the endoscopic studies compared simulation-based training in isolation with patient-based training with different results: for sigmoidoscopy, patient-based training was more effective, whereas for colonoscopy, simulation-based training was equally effective.
Conclusions: Skills acquired by simulation-based training seem to be transferable to the operative setting for laparoscopic cholecystectomy and endoscopy. Future research will strengthen these conclusions by evaluating predetermined competency levels on the same simulators and using objective validated global rating scales to measure operative performance.