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HomeHealth & FitnessDo box trainers and surgical simulators make a difference?

Do box trainers and surgical simulators make a difference?

In a session on Saturday during AAGL’s 51st Global Congress on MIGS in Aurora, Colorado, Angie Tsuei of Western Michigan University discussed the results of an investigation into the impact of homemade laparoscopic box trainers on medical students’ surgical skills.

The randomized controlled trial began with a primary objective of determining whether augmenting instructional videos with home laparoscopic trainers would contribute to greater overall improvement in laparoscopic simulator tasks in preclinical medical students. Tsuei and her team also evaluated the changes in participants’ perspectives toward their field of surgery and perceptions of skills after a 2-week training period.

The study included first- and second-year medical students at Western Michigan Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine and excluded folks with previous experience in laparoscopic surgery. In total, investigators included 17 participants.

These 17 individuals completed a baseline survey about perceived competence and interest in surgery, as well as a musical instrument and/or video game playing experience. Everyone was then randomized into 2 groups. The first group included 9 individuals who trained for laparoscopic tasks by watching video modules and practicing with homemade laparoscopic box trainers, while the second group included 8 individuals who solely watched video modules. Participants went on to complete simulator modules before and after their 2-week curriculum. With 6 modules in total, the skills included basics, laparoscopic appendectomy and salpingectomy.

Overall improvement was measured with 3 categories on the final 2 procedures—laparoscopic appendectomy and salpingectomy. The investigators categorized these results by number of mistakes, total time to complete tasks, and total instrument path length.

As for results, there did not appear to be any significant differences in musical or video game experience between the 2 groups. Both groups, however, showed trends of improvement on most tasks. Investigators concluded that the box trainers did not significantly improve laparoscopic surgical skills when compared to video mimicry over a 2-week period. However, the box trainers did improve participants’ perceived confidence in performing surgery, their natural ability to acquire surgical skills, and their worries about performing surgery.


Tsuei A. The Impact of Homemade Laparoscopic Box Trainers on Medical Student Surgical Skills: A Randomized Control Pilot Study. Presented at: AAGL’s 51st Global Congress on MIGS ; December 3, 2022; Aurora, Colorado.

Abdullah Anaman
Abdullah Anaman
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