Proficiency-based Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery skills training results in durable performance improvement and a uniform certification pass rate

Madelyn E. Rosenthal, E. Matt Ritter, Mouza T. Goova, Antonio O. Castellvi, Seifu T. Tesfay, Elisabeth A. Pimentel, Robert Hartzler, Daniel J. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: The authors have previously documented a 100% certification pass rate immediately after a proficiency-based skills training curriculum for the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) program. This study aimed to determine the durability of skills acquired after initial training. Methods: For this study, 21 novice medical students were enrolled in institutional review board (IRB)-approved protocols at two institutions. As previously reported, all the participants successfully completed a structured proficiency-based training curriculum by practicing the five FLS tasks in a distributed fashion over a 2-month period. Pre- and posttesting was conducted, and standard testing metrics were used. The participants were recruited for repeat testing 6 months (retention 1) and 1 year (retention 2) after initial curriculum completion. Of the original 21 students, 15 (10 at University of Texas Southwestern and 5 at Uniformed Services University) were available and agreed to participate. The participants had no additional skills lab training and minimal clinical laparoscopic exposure. Results: None of the 15 participants demonstrated proficiency at the initial pretest (mean score, 146 ± 65), and performance showed significant improvement (p < 0.001) at the posttest (469 ± 20). The participants retained a very high level of performance at retention 1 (437 ± 39; 93% retention of the posttest score) and retention 2 (444 ± 55; 95% retention of the posttest score). Their performance at both retention testing-intervals was sufficient for passing the certification exam (270 cutoff score for passing) with a comfortable margin. There were no significant differences in performance between the two institutions at any time points. Conclusion: The proficiency-based FLS skills curriculum reliably results in a high level of skill retention, even in the absence of ongoing simulator-based training or clinical experience. This curriculum is suitable for widespread implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2453-2457
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • FLS
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopy
  • Proficiency-based training
  • Simulation
  • Surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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