Exploring the Best Way to Train a Surgeon

Laura Downes, CAE, AANA CEO said, at the advent of the two-year collaboration between VirtaMed and AANA, “We have assessed all virtual reality arthroscopy simulators on the market, and VirtaMed was clearly the best fit to partner with AANA. The combination of life-like anatomic models, high-fidelity graphics and original tools adapted for simulation make the VirtaMed ArthroS the closest thing to real surgery.”

Months before the official two-year partnership between VirtaMed and AANA , in November 2017, the Editorial Board of AANA’s official publication Arthroscopy authored, “Arthroscopic Training in the 21st century: A Changing Paradigm,” addressing a question that, as they characterize it, persists to this day: “What is the best way to train a surgeon?”

Best Method to Train Surgeons

In addition, “What is the best method to train surgeons while maintaining patient safety and efficiency?”

Their query showed that proficiency-based progression (PBP), “an effective method to optimize learning of technical and procedural skills […] requires mastery of basic skill tasks before advancing to more complicated tasks.”

So, for trainees at AANA Resident Courses, using this approach, “the first day [...] is spent in a dry lab, where residents learn and perform basic arthroscopic tasks at knot-tying stations, Fundamentals of Arthroscopy Surgery Training (FAST) workstations and computerized arthroscopy simulators.”

Going even further back, into the first months of 2017 to a three-day Resident Course AANA facilitated the use of the VirtaMed simulators at the Orthopaedic Learning Center in Rosemont, Illinois.

Upon completion of the exercises, residents were split into teams and asked to complete a survey. The survey responses were extremely interesting. 97% of respondents felt they would be able to apply skills they had learned on a simulator to real-life situations. All of the respondents found simulation to be advantageous to their learning experience.


Image credit: VirtaMed

ArthroS FAST Module from VirtaMed

In line with Drs. Feldman, Ross, Brand, and Lubowitz’s view that effective training should progress from basic skill mastering through to more challenging tasks, VirtaMed provides the ArthroS FAST module, which is in line with the AANA FAST program.

In collaboration with AANA, this program has been developed within the ABOS mandate for surgical skills training. It includes a number of motor skill training tasks that guide trainees through the initial steps of arthroscopy.

The trainee is prepared for more advanced diagnostics and therapeutic procedures after those basic skills are mastered, available for knee, shoulder, hip, and ankle modules on the VirtaMed ArthroS. These accompany a resident through PGY 1-5 and into some1 fellowship programs.

The Editorial Board said, “Research clearly shows that simulator training can improve performance (on the simulator) and we anticipate that future research will demonstrate improved performance on real patients.”

In answer to the question, “What is the future of arthroscopic surgical education?” they said, “Your editors are firm believers in PBP training using simulators. […] Students of arthroscopy could spend less time observing and more time improving their skills. Only after basic and then advanced skills are satisfactorily demonstrated should trainees participate in hands-on cases of the patients, presumably to the benefit of all parties involved.”

The question of methodology was answered by the Editorial Board’s treatise, but the question of which simulator residents and specialists prefer is addressed clearly by the survey results in addition to AANA’s choice to form an exclusive partnership with VirtaMed.

Our goal is to improve patient care by advancing education in arthroscopy, and we want to ensure all arthroscopic surgeons have access to high-quality skills training and continuous education. Working with VirtaMed's first-rate simulators, experienced developers and dedicated education specialists will help us reach that goal.”

AANA Learning Center Committee Chair Joseph C. Tauro, M.D


VirtaMedhas a goal, to enhance the quality of care using virtual reality-based, state-of-the-art medical training and education, they are honored and inspired to work alongside AANA to reaching common goals and to continue providing preferred, efficient, and effective techniques for surgical skills acquisition and training.

About VirtaMed

VirtaMed is a Swiss company that develops & produces highly realistic surgical simulators for medical training. Surgeons use original instruments to train in a safe environment before performing surgeries on patients.


VirtaMed's vision is to improve the quality of medical care with state-of-the-art, virtual reality based medical training and education.


Our mission is to alter the way medical skills are taught.


As a company, we live innovation in a customer-oriented, agile, diverse and passionate work environment.

Sponsored Content Policy: News-Medical.net publishes articles and related content that may be derived from sources where we have existing commercial relationships, provided such content adds value to the core editorial ethos of News-Medical.Net which is to educate and inform site visitors interested in medical research, science, medical devices and treatments.

Last updated: May 13, 2020 at 12:03 PM


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