Published online Apr 18, 2017. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v8.i4.290
Peer-review started: October 19, 2016
First decision: November 30, 2016
Revised: December 18, 2016
Accepted: January 11, 2017
Article in press: January 14, 2017
Published online: April 18, 2017
Surgical skills education is in the process of a crucial transformation from a master-apprenticeship model to simulation-based training. Orthopaedic surgery is one of the surgical specialties where simulation-based skills training needs to be integrated into the curriculum efficiently and urgently. The reason for this strong and pressing need is that orthopaedic surgery covers broad human anatomy and pathologies and requires learning enormously diverse surgical procedures including basic and advanced skills. Although the need for a simulation-based curriculum in orthopaedic surgery is clear, several obstacles need to be overcome for a smooth transformation. The main issues to be addressed can be summarized as defining the skills and procedures so that simulation-based training will be most effective; choosing the right time period during the course of orthopaedic training for exposure to simulators; the right amount of such exposure; using objective, valid and reliable metrics to measure the impact of simulation-based training on the development and progress of surgical skills; and standardization of the simulation-based curriculum nationwide and internationally. In the new era of surgical education, successful integration of simulation-based surgical skills training into the orthopaedic curriculum will depend on efficacious solutions to these obstacles in moving forward.
Core tip: Simulation-based surgical skills training outside the operating room has become essential for modern trainees due to restricted work-hours, cost pressures, emphasis on patient safety, and the increasing number of minimally invasive and technically challenging procedures. Orthopaedic surgery has fallen behind some other surgical specialties in integrating surgical simulation into its curriculum due to several obstacles. The authors aim to clarify these obstacles and suggest solutions for a smooth transformation to simulation-based curriculum in orthopaedic surgery.