There is an ever-growing body of research exploring the efficacy of surgical simulation. In many arenas, it has been shown that simulation does work to accelerate the acquisition and retention of skills and behaviours that enhance surgeon performance. The covid-19 pandemic has reduced trainees’ exposure to the real operating theatre – and there has been a commensurate re-iteration of the role that simulation can play to help to mitigate for the loss of training opportunities.
With the eoSim laparoscopic simulator having been available for over seven years now, we are taking the opportunity to review the growing evidence base illustrating its effectiveness and utility. We built eoSim to help us, as then trainee surgeons. As such, the eoSurgical team worked hard right at the beginning to validate the concept – illustrating validity as a simulation tool early on.
There are now over 20 peer-reviewed papers showing how eoSurgical products and ideas can help to enhance surgical training. Many of these come from completely independent groups. A Dutch group led by Ijgosse et al. have illustrated how the eoSim can be used enhance laparoscopic suturing skills. Another Dutch group led by, Arts et al. has re-iterated the face, content, and construct validity of the eoSim for basic laparoscopic tasks. Mansoor et al., from Norway, showed that the eoSim can differentiate between experienced versus novice surgeons on tasks including intracorporeal suture and tie, tube ligation and precision cutting; enabling surgical departments to implement testing of their surgeons' basic laparoscopic skills.
Here in Scotland, eoSim is a core part of the Improving Surgical Training (IST) scheme. Incentivised laparoscopy practise runs as a theme through these training years, with ongoing research work to characterise which incentives work to promote trainee and trainer engagement.
We are always delighted to engage with any groups who are interested in pursuing research using our simulators (see below to contact us). We are also excited to announce a new collaboration with Suture_UK. This is a non-profit, nationwide initiative working to provide undergraduate surgical skills education. We will be working with them as we develop and release the new skills curriculum – and instrument tracking technology – for our eoMicro simulator.
Consultant neurosurgeon and honorary clinical lecturer, Edinburgh