This study aimed to seek the opinions of academic surgical chairs on minimally invasive surgery (MIS) education for general surgery residents and to identify perceived gaps and trends in educational strategies.
A national survey on attitudes toward MIS was sent to the chairs of departments of surgery and divisions of general surgery across the 16 Canadian academic centers. The survey contained 34 questions consisting of Likert scales, single answers, and multiple-choice questions. Nonresponders were contacted directly. At the time of the survey, two department chair positions were vacant.
The response rate was 87% (26/30). The majority of the centers used early operating room exposure to basic MIS cases (92%) and animal labs (85%). Two-thirds of the institutions used early operating room exposure to advanced MIS cases (69%) and didactic lectures (65%). Half of the academic centers used MIS video (54%) and the laparoscopic virtual reality simulator (54%). The least used method was computer software (19%). The surgical division and department chairs believed the most effective teaching method was early operating room exposure to basic MIS cases (100%), followed by the laparoscopic virtual reality simulator (91%) and animal labs (88%). Computer software was considered 42% useful, and the least useful method was didactic lectures (16%). In the next 5 years, 62% of academic centers plan to add laparoscopic virtual reality simulators to their MIS curriculum.
The chairs' opinion on the most effective MIS teaching method for residents is basic MIS cases followed by laparoscopic virtual reality simulators. The majority of academic institutions plan to add laparoscopic virtual reality simulators to the curriculum in the next 5 years.