In a prior study, we validated the FAST workstation as an objective evaluator of hand-tied surgical knots. The goal of this study was to determine whether guided practice with the FAST workstation could lead to objective improvement in hand-tied surgical knot performance.
Sixty participants were randomized into 1 of 2 groups: a control group, with access to only the knot-tying station, and a test group, with access to the knot-tying station plus the knot testing station. The study was divided into 3 phases: prepractice, practice, and postpractice. Using the FAST workstation, participants hand-tied 5 knots, 15 knots, and 5 knots using 0 Vicryl suture in the prepractice, practice, and postpractice phases, respectively. Knots for each participant from the prepractice and postpractice phases were collected, tested, and compared.
Within the control group, the average number of prepractice knot successes was 2.63, and the average number of postpractice knot successes was 3.40, which resulted in an improvement of average knot successes of 0.77 (P < 0.01). Within the test group, the average number of prepractice knot successes was 2.40, and the average number of postpractice knot successes was 4.10, which resulted in an improvement of average knot successes of 1.70 (P < 0.01). The difference in average improvement of knot-tying successes (0.93 knots) between the 2 groups was statistically significant (P < 0.01).
A knot-tying trainer that provides objective feedback on knot performance may better improve hand-tied surgical knot proficiency compared with one without objective feedback.