Development and evaluation of a canine laparoscopic simulator for veterinary clinical training

Uson-Gargallo J, Tapia-Araya AE, Diaz-Guemes Martin-Portugues I, et al.

J Vet Med Educ 2014;41:218-224.

Human laparoscopic simulators have been used in medical education for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in the past years. Simulator-based laparoscopic training has attracted much interest because unique skills have to be learned not only by surgeons in training but also by surgeons in practice. MIS forces the surgeon to adapt to monocular vision and decreased tactile sensation and entails training and improving hand-eye and hand-hand coordination. Those skills require a learning curve that could be overcome gradually with use of simulators. The Canine Laparoscopic Simulator (CLS) for laparoscopic training was developed based on the working and optical space obtained from computed tomography (CT) scan images of three Beagle dogs. Thirty veterinarians (expert group, n=7; novice group, n=23) performed basic laparoscopic exercises in one training session on the CLS. During the performance of the exercises, an experienced laparoscopic veterinarian assessed all the tasks. Afterwards, participants were asked to complete an anonymous survey describing their experience. Most participants expressed positive opinions about the design and usability of the CLS. There were no significant differences between the two groups’ opinions. The CLS showed good preliminary acceptance in the basic laparoscopy tasks by veterinarians. They perceived it to be a good training tool, and these results suggest that CLS is an engaging tool for education but still has some limitations inherent in training boxes. Further studies would be needed to establish the validity of training programs performed in the CLS.