Expanding the use of simulation in open vascular surgical training

V. A. Pandey, J. H. N. Wolfe (2012): Expanding the use of simulation in open vascular surgical training. J Vasc Surg 2012;56; pp. 847-52.

Simulation technology has a well-defined role in nonmedical professions such as aviation and over the last two decades has permeated medical training. The most successful surgical simulation is in the fields of laparoscopic and endovascular surgery. These two-dimensional scenarios, as in the aviation industry, lend themselves to simulation. Open simulators have been met with more resistance than their laparoscopic counterparts because of the difficulties in simulating the three-dimensional field. Engaging in persistent practice is what makes the expert and all trainees should aspire to this. Without knowing, all surgical trainees have engaged in deliberate practice when first learning to tie surgical knots. This deliberate practice should be used in all aspects of vascular surgical practice, and it is no longer acceptable to perform procedures such as arterial anastomoses for the first time on patients. Simulators exist for all aspects of vascular surgical training and vary in complexity and price. Some of these simulators are suitable for use at home or in a skills laboratory whereas others are more suitable for use in a specialized skills center. Training on these simulators can be offered at a local level or at a regional level in the skills center. Where surgical procedures are not commonly performed or expertise is required for a new innovation, it is more appropriate to have national or internationally based workshops under the auspices of surgical boards or societies. Simulation of crisis management, well known in aviation, has also been applied to vascular surgical practice and can offer benefit to senior trainees even when their performance on a noncrisis simulator has reached a plateau. This article identifies the areas where simulation in open vascular surgery can benefit the trainee.