Innovations in surgery simulation: a review of past, current and future techniques
As a result of recent work-hours limitations and concerns for patient safety, innovations in extraclinical surgical simulation have become a desired part of residency education. Current simulation models, including cadaveric, animal, bench-top, virtual reality (VR) and robotic simulators are increasingly used in surgical training programs. Advances in telesurgery, three-dimensional (3D) printing, and the incorporation of patient-specific anatomy are paving the way for simulators to become integral components of medical training in the future. Evidence from the literature highlights the benefits of including simulations in surgical training; skills acquired through simulations translate into improvements in operating room performance. Moreover, simulations are rapidly incorporating new medical technologies and offer increasingly high-fidelity recreations of procedures. As a result, both novice and expert surgeons are able to benefit from their use. As dedicated, structured curricula are developed that incorporate simulations into daily resident training, simulated surgeries will strengthen the surgeon’s skill set, decrease hospital costs, and improve patient outcomes.