Development of a surgical skills curriculum for the training and assessment of manual skills in orthopedic surgical residents

Hohn EA, Brooks AG, Leasure J, Camisa W, van Warmerdam J, Kondrashov D, Montgomery W, McGann W.

Feb 1, 2015

J Surg Educ. 2015 Jan-Feb;72(1):47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2014.06.005. Epub 2014 Aug 6.


Objective: To develop and conduct a pilot study of a curriculum of 4 surrogate bone training modules to assess and track progress in basic orthopedic manual skills outside the operating room.

Design: Four training modules were developed with faculty and resident input. The modules include (1) cortical drilling, (2) drill trajectory, (3) oscillating saw, and (4) pedicle probing. Orthopedic resident's performance was evaluated. Validity and reliability results were calculated using standard analysis of variance and multivariate regression analysis accounting for postgraduate year (PGY) level, number of attempts, and specific outcome target results specific to the simulation module.

Setting: St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, CA.

Participants: These modules were tested on 15 orthopedic surgery residents ranging from PGY 1 to PGY 5 experience.

Results: The cortical drilling module had a mean success rate of 56% ± 5%. There was a statistically significant difference in performance according to the diameter of the drill used from 33% ± 7% with large diameter to 70% ± 6% with small diameter. The drill trajectory module had a success rate of 85% ± 3% with a trend toward improvement across PGY level. The oscillating saw module had a mean success rate of 25% ± 5% (trajectory) and 84% ± 6% (depth). We observed a significant improvement in trajectory performance during the second attempt. The pedicle probing module had a success rate of 46% ± 10%.

Conclusion: The results of this pilot study on a small number of residents are promising. The modules were inexpensive and easy to administer. Conclusions of statistical significance include (1) residents who could easily detect changes in surrogate bone thickness with a smaller diameter drill than with a larger diameter drill and (2) residents who significantly improved saw trajectory with an additional attempt at the module.

Keywords: Medical Knowledge; Patient Care; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; education; internship and residency; motor skills; orthopedics.