Impact of established skills in open surgery on the proficiency gain process for laparoscopic surgery

Daniel C. Brown, Danilo Miskovic, Benjie Tang, George B. Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background Laparoscopic training traditionally follows open surgical training. This study aimed to investigate the impact of experience in open surgery on the laparoscopic proficiency gain process. Methods A survey form investigating the importance of open experience before the start of laparoscopic training was sent to surgical experts and trainees in the United Kingdom. A separate experimental study objectively assessed the effects of open experience on laparoscopic skill acquisition using a virtual reality simulator. In the study, 11 medical students with no prior surgical experience (group A) and 14 surgical trainees with open but no laparoscopic experience in (group B) performed 250 simulated laparoscopic cholecystectomies. Psychomotor skills were evaluated by motion analysis and video-based global rating scores. Before the first and after the fifth and tenth operation, knowledge of laparoscopic techniques was assessed by a written test and by self-reported confidence levels indicated on a questionnaire. Results The 80 experts and 282 trainees who responded to the survey believed prior open experience aids confidence levels, knowledge, and skills acquisition. In the simulation study, no intergroup difference was found for any parameter after the first procedure. Group B scored significantly higher in the laparoscopic knowledge test before training began (42.7% vs. 64.3%; p = 0.002), but no significant difference was found after five operations. The two groups did not differ significantly in terms of confidence. Group B had a significantly shorter total operation time only at the first operation (2,305.6 s vs. 1,884.6 s; p = 0.037). No significant intergroup difference in path length, number of movements, or video-based global rating scores was observed. Conclusions Prior open experience does not aid the laparoscopic learning process, as demonstrated in a simulated setting. Given the wealth of evidence demonstrating translation of virtual skills to the operating theater, we propose that the safe and effective introduction of wellsupervised laparoscopic training may be possible at the beginning of a surgical training curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1420-1426
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number6
Early online date1 Jan 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Cholecystectomy
  • Education
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Simulation
  • Surgical training
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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