This was a narrative review.
This study aimed to review the current literature on surgical simulation in orthopedics and its application to spine surgery.
Summary of Background Data:
As orthopedic surgery increases in complexity, training becomes more relevant. There have been mandates in the United States for training orthopedic residents the fundamentals of surgical skills; however, few studies have examined the various training options available. Lack of funding, availability, and time are major constraints to surgical simulation options.
A PubMed review of the current literature was performed on all relevant articles that examined orthopedic trainees using surgical simulation options. Studies were examined for their thoroughness and application of simulation options to orthopedic surgery.
Twenty-three studies have explored orthopedic surgical simulation in a setting that objectively assessed trainee performance, most in the field of trauma and arthroscopy. However, there was a lack of consistency in measurements made and skills tested by these simulators. There has only been one study exploring surgical simulation in spine surgery.
While there has been a growing number of surgical simulators to train orthopedic residents the fundamentals of surgical skills, most of these simulators are not feasible, reproducible, or available to the majority of training centers. Furthermore, the lack of consistency in the objective measurements of these studies makes interpretation of their results difficult. There is a need for more simulation in spine surgery, and future simulators and their respective studies should be reproducible, affordable, applicable to the surgical setting, and easily assembled by various programs across the world.