Students have similar confidence levels during a simulated laparoscopic vaginal cuff suturing task whether they train with the current standard laparoscopic simulator or a newer gynecology-specific simulator, a randomized trial found.
Participants who trained on the gynecology-specific simulator, known as Essentials in Minimally Invasive Gynecology (EMIG), reported higher confidence scores, but differences between the groups were not statistically significant, a researcher reported at the annual meeting sponsored by AAGL, held virtually this year.
The study compared EMIG with Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS), a laparoscopic simulator that general surgeons launched in 2004.
In 2018, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology announced an FLS requirement for residents graduating after May 31, 2020. The same year, the AAGL began validating EMIG. AAGL developed the simulator in response to a growing trend for minimally invasive approaches and to provide a training tool geared toward gynecologists, said Emily G. Lin, MD, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at McGaw Medical Center at Northwestern University in Chicago.
A Comparison of the Two Simulators
The simulators use different port placement and operator positioning. The operating fields within the box trainers also differ. In EMIG, laparoscopic tasks take place within a bowl that simulates a confined workspace similar to a pelvis, whereas FLS tasks take place in an open box trainer environment, Lin said.
To compare students’ self-reported confidence levels after performing a laparoscopic vaginal cuff suturing task after training with EMIG or FLS, Lin and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial.
The researchers recruited 45 participants who were preclinical medical students or premedical college students without prior training experience. Participants were randomized to EMIG or FLS training. After watching instructional videos about their simulator tasks and the vaginal cuff suturing task, they attempted the vaginal cuff suturing task as a pretest.
They then trained for about 2 hours on their assigned simulator. Training for both groups included practicing peg transfer and intracorporeal knot tying. In addition, the EMIG group trained on a running suture task, and the FLS group trained on a ligating loop task.
After training, participants retried the vaginal cuff suturing task. Participants subsequently rated their confidence during each simulation task on a 5-point Likert scale.
Confidence levels on the peg transfer (4.13 with EMIG vs. 4.10 with FLS), intracorporeal knot tying (3.0 with EMIG vs. 2.86 with FLS) and vaginal cuff suturing (2.46 with EMIG vs. 2.05 with FLS) were similar for both groups.
The study was small, included only one training session, and included only three of the five tasks for each simulator because of time and cost constraints, Lin noted.
Using Simulation in Residency Training
The study was well designed and sheds light on inevitable comparisons between FLS and EMIG, Ido Sirota, MD, MHA, of New York-Presbyterian Queens, said in a discussion following the research presentation.
“The field of medical simulation has developed tremendously in the past decade,” Sirota said. “The paradigm that used to be common in our field – of see one, do one, teach one – belongs to the past. … Current trainees need extensive practice on their surgical skills in a simulation setting before” entering the operating room.
A 2017 review found that simulation may be a useful adjunct to residency training.
And in a pilot study, EMIG’s laparoscopic and hysteroscopic simulation systems were considered to have good face validity, Sirota noted.
Using a gynecology-specific simulation may have advantages.
“In this day and age when we are trying to differentiate ourselves as a subspecialty, there is a great value to developing our own simulation-based curricula to validate our surgical skills during training, as well as for maintenance throughout our career,” Sirota said. “We as a subspecialty need specific tests tailored to our surgical procedures.”
Sirota disclosed consulting for Medtronic, Activ Surgical, Heracure, and HT, and he is on the speakers bureau for Medtronic. Lin had no relevant financial disclosures.
SOURCE: Lin E et al. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2020 Nov. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2020.08.593.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.