Construction and validation of a low-cost laparoscopic simulator for surgical education

Jared Wong, Gaurav Bhattacharya, Steven J. Vance, Peter Bistolarides, Aziz M. Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: To construct a trainer that would achieve the equivalent goals of the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) trainer at an economical cost. A validation study comparing our homemade (HM) trainer vs the FLS trainer was performed. A literature search as well as a price comparison with other commercially available laparoscopic trainers is presented. Methods: The HM laparoscopic trainer was constructed using a prefabricated hard plastic frame with a vinyl plastic sheet affixed as the roof. A row of light-emitting diode lights and a charge-coupled device camera were mounted on the inside roof of the frame. Electrical wires were spliced to supply power to both the light-emitting diode lights and the camera. The charge-coupled device camera was connected to a liquid crystal display screen which was affixed directly across from the user. Subjects were prospectively randomized to perform the 5 tasks put forth by the McGill Inanimate System for Training and Evaluation of Laparoscopic Skills on both the HM trainer and the FLS trainer (pegboard transfer, pattern cut, placement of ligating loop, extracorporeal knot suture, and intracorporeal knot suture). Simple paired t test was performed to compare times between the trainers. Setting: The construction of the trainer and the validation study were performed at the Central Michigan University College of Medicine Department of Simulation. Participants: Subjects consisted of third- and fourth-year medical students (n = 30). Results: A laparoscopic trainer box was constructed and assembled in 2 hours. The HM trainer cost $309 representing a cost savings of $1371. Results of the validation study demonstrated no statistical difference in times to complete 3 out of the 5 tasks as well as no difference in total time to complete all 5 tasks (p value< 0.05). Conclusion: Valid laparoscopic simulators can be constructed at an economical cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery
  • laparoscopic trainer
  • surgical education
  • surgical simulation


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