Laparoscopic skills laboratories: Current assessment and a call for resident training standards

James R. Korndorffer, Dimitris Stefanidis, Daniel J. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Background: Numerous protocols for laparoscopic skills training using simulator-based laboratories have proven effective. However, little is known about the availability and uniformity of such facilities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence, utilization, and costs of skills laboratories currently in use. Methods: A survey was mailed to 253 general surgery program directors to determine the perceived value, prevalence, equipment, types of training, supervision, and costs of the labs. Results: One hundred sixty-two (64%) programs completed the survey. Eighty-eight percent of responders consider skills labs effective in improving operating room performance; however, only 55% have skills labs. Of 89 programs with skills labs, 99% have videotrainer equipment (mean 3.8 trainers per lab, range 1 to 15); 46% have virtual reality trainer equipment (mean 1.7 trainers per lab, range 1 to 7). Eighty-two percent of programs teach basic skills using a variety of tasks (Rosser/Southwestern stations, MIST-VR, MISTELS, department-created); 96% teach suturing (intracorporeal, extracorporeal, suture devices). On average, residents train 0.8 hours per week (range 0 to 6). Training is mandatory in 55% and supervised in 73% of the programs. The mean development cost was $133,000 (range $300 to $1,000,000). Conclusions: While a large majority of program directors consider skills labs important, 45% of programs have no such facilities. Moreover, significant variability of equipment and training practices exist in currently available labs. Strategies are needed for more widespread implementation of skills labs, and standards should be developed to facilitate uniform adoption of validated curricula that reliably maximize training efficiency and educational benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Curriculum
  • Laparoscopic skills training
  • Laparoscopy
  • Simulator
  • Surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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