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Simulation in surgery: a review

By S.S.Y. Tan and S.K. Sarker


The ability to acquire surgical skills requires consistent practice, and evidence suggests that many of these technical skills can be learnt away from the operating theatre. The aim of this review article is to discuss the importance of surgical simulation today and its various types, exploring the effectiveness of simulation in the clinical setting and its challenges for the future. Surgical simulation offers the opportunity for trainees to practise their surgical skills prior to entering the operating theatre, allowing detailed feedback and objective assessment of their performance. This enables better patient safety and standards of care. Surgical simulators can be divided into organic or inorganic simulators. Organic simulators, consisting of live animal and fresh human cadaver models, are considered to be of high-fidelity. Inorganic simulators comprise virtual reality simulators and synthetic bench models. Current evidence suggests that skills acquired through training with simulators, positively transfers to the clinical setting and improves operative outcome. The major challenge for the future revolves around understanding the value of this new technology and developing an educational curriculum that can incorporate surgical simulators

Publisher: 'SAGE Publications'
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1258/smj.2011.011098
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Enlighten
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