The change felt on the health care delivery patterns and the constant and fast evolution of orthopedic surgical procedures have increased the steps for trainees to develop expertise in their craft. It requires greater skills those needed in the past.
Alternative methods have been developed in order to fight the resulting conflict between service provision and training.
Simulation training provides the perfect opportunity to develop surgical skills in a controlled environment, minimizing risks to patients’ safety, operating theatre usage and financial expenditure.
Orthopedics has several options for simulation, from cadaveric or prosthetic models, to arthroscopic simulators, to advanced virtual reality and three-dimensional software tools. Of course, there are limitations to this training, but it has significant potential for trainees to achieve competence in procedures prior to real-life-practice. It mainly increases confidence and familiarity with equipment.
This is not a new concept, as cadaver models were historically used as part of surgical training, however, it is fair to notice that some progress has been made in developing new and varied simulation-based techniques to provide training in a safe and modifiable environment.
Over the years, the technological advances will continue to improve realism and increased availability of simulators and it may compensate for the reduced real-time theatre experience of current surgeons in training.
Medical literature reviewed suggests that there is a significant benefit of simulation to improve trainee confidence and understanding of techniques whilst also allowing practice and development of the technical skills.
Trainees and trainers must not forget that technical ability forms only one component of the skills set required to be a successful surgeon. Leadership and communication are also required in surgical practice and in some circumstances may be of greater importance than technical aptitude.