J Reconstr Microsurg 2016; 32(07): 540-545
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1582263
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Is There Bias against Simulation in Microsurgery Training?

Todd A. Theman
1   Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
Brian I. Labow
1   Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

08 January 2016

23 February 2016

Publication Date:
13 April 2016 (online)


Background While other surgical specialties have embraced virtual reality simulation for training and recertification, microsurgery has lagged. This study aims to assess the opinions of microsurgeons on the role of simulation in microsurgery assessment and training.

Methods We surveyed faculty members of the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery to ascertain opinions on their use of simulation in training and opinions about the utility of simulation for skills acquisition, teaching, and skills assessment. The 21-question survey was disseminated online to 675 members.

Results Eighty-nine members completed the survey for a 13.2% response rate. Few microsurgeons have experience with high-fidelity simulation, and opinions on its utility are internally inconsistent. Although 84% of respondents could not identify a reason why simulation would not be useful, only 24% believed simulation is a useful measure of clinical performance. Nearly three-fourths of respondents were skeptical that simulation would improve their skills. Ninety-four percent had no experience with simulator-based assessment.

Conclusion Simulation has been shown to improve skills acquisition in microsurgery, but our survey suggests that unfamiliarity may foster bias against the technology. Failure to incorporate simulation may adversely affect training and may put surgeons at a disadvantage should these technologies be adopted for recertification by regulatory agencies.

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