• Randomized comparison of the portable laparoscopic trainer to a standardized trainer

      Fox, Joe; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Castle, Erik (The University of Arizona., 2013-04-12)
      PURPOSE: To evaluate the effectiveness of the portable laparoscopic trainer in improving skills in novice subjects. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-nine medical students with no prior surgical experience were recruited and given a pretest of three tasks on a standardized laparoscopic trainer. Subjects were evaluated objectively and subjectively. Fifteen subjects were randomized to receive a portable laparoscopic trainer and 14 subjects were assigned to the standardized laparoscopic trainers at our facility. The portable trainer group was advised but not required to complete at least 3 hours of training. The group at the facility had a proctored 1-hour session each week for 3 weeks. Each subject was then retested and evaluated with the same pretest tasks. Objective and subjective improvements between the groups were compared. HYPOTHESIS: Both the portable and standardized trainer groups were expected to improve comparably based on objective and subjective measures. The portable group had a theoretical objective advantage due to unlimited practice time and the standardized group had the advantage of proctored training sessions, thought to increase subjective performance. RESULTS: Baseline demographics and pretest scores were similar between both groups. All students in the facility group completed the three 1-hour proctored sessions. The portable trainer group reported an average 204 minutes of practice. Objectively, the facility group did better on the post-test in overall time, and in two exercises. Subjectively, the facility group had a significant improvement compared with the portable trainer group (4.6 versus 2.4 point average increase, P=0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Both groups showed objective and subjective improvement after a 3-week period of training. The portable trainer group did report longer average practice time, but this made no significant difference in subjective or objective improvement. The portable laparoscopic trainer is an effective method for improvement of basic inferior compared to proctored sessions on a standard trainer.