Objective Laparoscopic skills can be improved effectively through laparoscopic simulation. The purpose of this study was to verify the face and content validity of a new portable Ergonomic Laparoscopic Skills simulator (Ergo-Lap simulator) and assess the construct validity of the Ergo-Lap simulator in 4 basic skills tasks. Design Four tasks were evaluated: 2 different translocation exercises (a basic bimanual exercise and a challenging single-handed exercise), an exercise involving tissue manipulation under tension, and a needle-handling exercise. Task performance was analyzed according to speed and accuracy. The participants rated the usability and didactic value of each task and the Ergo-Lap simulator along a 5-point Likert scale. Setting Institutional academic medical center with its affiliated general surgery residency. Participants Forty-six participants were allotted into 2 groups: a Novice group (n = 26, <10 clinical laparoscopic procedures) and an Experienced group (n = 20, >50 clinical laparoscopic procedures). Results The Experienced group completed all tasks in less time than the Novice group did (p < 0.001, Mann-Whitney U test). The Experienced group also completed tasks 1, 2, and 4 with fewer errors than the Novice group did (p < 0.05). Of the Novice participants, 96% considered that the present Ergo-Lap simulator could encourage more frequent practice of laparoscopic skills. In addition, 92% would like to purchase this simulator. All of the experienced participants confirmed that the Ergo-Lap simulator was easy to use and useful for practicing basic laparoscopic skills in an ergonomic manner. Most (95%) of these respondents would recommend this simulator to other surgical trainees. Conclusions This Ergo-Lap simulator with multiple tasks was rated as a useful training tool that can distinguish between various levels of laparoscopic expertise. The Ergo-Lap simulator is also an inexpensive alternative, which surgical trainees could use to update their skills in the skills laboratory, at home, or in the office.
- surgical trainee