Introduction: Microsurgical skills and cerebral angiography are fundamental skills in vascular neurosurgery. However, educational methods used to help residents become proficient in these skills are not uniform or consistent among training programs. This underlines a need to develop simulation-based curricula focusing on these skills. Such curricula can be used worldwide.
Methods: A microanastomosis and a diagnostic cerebral angiography module were used by neurosurgical residents at the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) Resident Vascular Neurosurgery course, which was held in Prague, Czech Republic, September 2013. In addition to an initial screening survey, each module was divided into 3 components: (1) a pre-didactic cognitive knowledge and technical skills testing, (2) a didactic lecture, and (3) a post-didactic cognitive knowledge and technical skills testing. Trainees’ cognitive and technical scores from the pretesting and the post-testing phases were compared. Wilcoxon rank sum test was used to test for statistical significance.
Results: A total of 16 residents from 13 different countries participated in the study (Figure 1). The knowledge test median scores increased from 63% to 80% (p<0.01) (microanastomosis) and 68% to 88% (p<0.01) on the cerebral angiography. The practical hands on simulation assessment median scores increased from 42% to 50.5% (p<0.01) (microanastomosis) and 50% to 68% (p<0.01) on the cerebral angiography module (Figures 2,3,4 and 5).
Conclusions: This study suggests that a simulation-based vascular neurosurgery curriculum is feasible and may enhance resident knowledge and technical proficiency in a diverse residency audience.
Patient Care: By incorporating simulation into neurosurgical training resident would have the opportunity to achieve proficiency in their surgical skills. This would translate to better patient outcomes and less medical errors.
Learning Objectives: To assess microsurgical and diagnostic cerebral angiography simulation modules and their corresponding objective assessment scales as educational tools on a diverse training population.