Advances in Pediatric Surgical Education: A Critical Appraisal of Two Consecutive Minimally Invasive Pediatric Surgery Training Courses

Colin D. Gause, Grace Hsiung, Ben Schwab, Matthew Clifton, Carroll M. Harmon, Katherine A. Barsness*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Mandates for improved patient safety and increasing work hour restrictions have resulted in changes in surgical education. Educational courses increasingly must meet those needs. We sought to determine the experience, skill level, and the impact of simulation-based education (SBE) on two cohorts of pediatric surgery trainees. Materials and Methods: After Institutional Review Board (IRB) exempt determination, a retrospective review was performed of evaluations for an annual advanced minimally invasive surgery (MIS) course over 2 consecutive years. The courses included didactic content and hands-on skills training. Simulation included neonatal/infant models for rigid bronchoscopy-airway foreign body retrieval, laparoscopic common bile duct exploration, and real tissue diaphragmatic hernia (DH), duodenal atresia (DA), pulmonary lobectomy, and tracheoesophageal fistula models. Categorical data were analyzed with chi-squared analyses with t-tests for continuous data. Results: Participants had limited prior advanced neonatal MIS experience, with 1.95 ± 2.84 and 1.16 ± 1.54 prior cases in the 2014 and 2015 cohorts, respectively. The 2015 cohort had significantly less previous experience in lobectomy (P = .04) and overall advanced MIS (P = .007). Before both courses, a significant percentage of participants were not comfortable with DH repair (39%-42%), DA repair (50%-74%), lobectomy (34%-43%), and tracheoesophageal fistula repair (54%-81%). After course completion, > 60% of participants reported improvement in comfort with procedures and over 90% reported that the course significantly improved their perceived ability to perform each operation safely. Conclusion: Pediatric surgery trainees continue to have limited exposure to advanced MIS during clinical training. SBE results in significant improvement in both cognitive knowledge and trainee comfort with safe operative techniques for advanced MIS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-670
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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