The apprentice–tutor model was useful for training surgeons for many years, but the complexity of surgical technology in the 21st century, especially endo- scopic surgery, has exponentially increased the demands for surgical education. Therefore, more and more people now accept that endoscopic surgery, demanding as it requires specific skills, should also be taught outside the operating theatre. Although many systems, including animal models and simulators, have been proposed, an in-house structured and validated method for testing and training laparoscopic skills is missing in gynaecology. We have developed a laparoscopic skills testing and training (LASTT) model and performed two studies evaluating its feasibility and the construct validity of three different exercises (camera navigation, camera navigation and forceps handling, and forceps handling and bi-manual coordination), specifically selected to test and train laparoscopic psychomotor skills(LPS). In the first study, ten experts and 14 novices repeated each exercise between 20 and 30 times. The results demonstrated that the model is useful for testing and training laparoscopic skills. Clear learning curves were observed for both experts and novices, with better scores for the former at the beginning and the end of the study, proving the construct validity of the model. In the second study, 42 experts and 241 novices repeated each exercise three times during skill evaluation workshops organised by the European Academy of Gynaecological Surgery. The results confirmed the construct validity of the model. In conclusion, the LASTT model seems a cost-effective tool for providing an in-house program for continuous training and evaluation of LPS in all surgical disciplines in which laparoscopic procedures are, or might be, performed.
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