BACKGROUND: This study assesses the transfer of laparoscopic skills to a group of Basic Surgical Trainees (BST) attending the Basic Surgical Skills (BSS) course. METHODS: The virtual reality simulator MIST-VR was used to assess 13 trainees before and after the course and again 3 weeks and 3 months later. Analysis of kinematic data using the Imperial College Surgical Assessment Device gave measures of distance traveled, distance efficiency ratio, time taken, number of errors made, and number of movements made in completing a virtual laparoscopic task. The performance of the group was compared to a control group who underwent no training. RESULTS: All parameters improved significantly after the course, with the exception of distance traveled by the instruments. All outcome measures were significantly improved at 3 weeks. The control group showed a nonsignificant trend toward improvement in all parameters. CONCLUSIONS: The Basic Surgical Skills course produces quantifiable improvements in laparoscopic skill that are measurable by MIST-VR. There is a learning effect associated with using MIST-VR alone.
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