Surgical Resident Evaluations of Portable Laparoscopic Box Trainers

Matthew Zapf, BA, Michael Ujiki, MD

NorthShore University HealthSystem, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

INTRODUCTION – Box trainers have been shown to be an effective tool for teaching laparoscopic surgical skills, however, residents are challenged to find practice time. Portable home box trainers theoretically allow for extended hands on practice even out of the hospital setting. We aimed to report the resident experience with laparoscopic home box trainers.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES – Over a two year period, all senior residents rotating through a minimally invasive service were given a home box trainer as well as access to a surgical simulation lab for practice. Each box trainer contained a collapsible trainer frame, a webcam with USB port attachment, trocars, and laparoscopic instruments (needle driver, shears, Maryland and straight dissecting graspers). The trainer included fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery skills testing materials and skill task cards with an instructional DVD and associated materials. Residents were asked to log hours, usages, and their experience with the trainer anonymously.

RESULTS – Eighteen residents received a portable box trainer. Forty percent of the participants found the trainer useful or very useful, while 60% said it was not useful or did not access the trainer. Those that used the trainer during their rotation did so 2.75 ± 3.6 times for 1.6 ± 0.92 hours per week. After completing their rotation, 3 of 9 residents reported using their box trainer for 9.6 ± 9.8 hours. Forty-three percent of responders liked the accessibility of the home box trainers. Half of the responders criticized the camera or the camera-computer interface. Forty percent never utilized their box trainer during or after the rotation.

CONCLUSIONS – Surgical educators have offered home box trainers as a practical and cost-effective method of teaching residents laparoscopic skills. However, this study demonstrates how access to a home box trainer does not equate with laparoscopic skills practice. While some found the box trainer useful, most residents underutilized the device. We advocate that residents should be provided protected practice time for simulation based surgical skills training.


Session: Poster Presentation

Program Number: P180

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