Bringing the skills laboratory home: An affordable webcam-based personal trainer for developing laparoscopic skills

Sow Alfred Kobayashi, Ramin Jamshidi, Patricia O'Sullivan, Barnard Palmer, Shinjiro Hirose, Lygia Stewart, Edward Hyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this work was to develop a more flexible system of laparoscopic surgery training with demonstrated effectiveness and construct validity. Hypotheses A personal, portable, durable laparoscopic trainer can be designed at low cost. The evaluation of expert surgeons on this device will reveal technical superiority over novices. With practice, novice surgeons can improve their performance significantly as measured by scores derived from performing skills with this training device. Design Prospective trial with observation and intervention components. The first aspect was observational comparison of novice and expert performance. The second was a prospective static-group comparison with pretest/posttest single-sample design. Setting Tertiary-care academic medical center with affiliated general surgery residency. Participants A total of 21 junior surgical residents and 5 experienced operators. Main Outcome Measures Performance was assessed by the 5 tasks in the McGill Inanimate System for Training and Evaluation of Laparoscopic Skills (MISTELS): pegboard transfer, pattern cutting, placement of ligating loop, extracorporeal knotting, and intracorporeal knotting. Each task was assessed for accuracy and speed. Results Expert surgeons scored significantly higher than novices on total score and 4 of the 5 MISTELS tasks (peg transfer, pattern cut, extracorporeal knot, and intracorporeal knot). After 4 months of home-based training, the novices improved in total score and 3 of the 5 tasks (peg transfer, pattern cut, and extracorporeal knot). Conclusions A low-cost personal laparoscopic training device can be built by individual residents. With their use, residents can significantly improve performance in important surgical skills. Evaluation of the system supports its validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-109
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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