Multispecialty microsurgical course utilizing the blue-blood chicken thigh model significantly improves resident comfort, confidence, and attitudes in multiple domains Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • BACKGROUND: The high level of technical skill required by microsurgical procedures has prompted the development of in vitro educational models. Current models are cost-ineffective, unrealistic, or carry ethical implications and are utilized as isolated experiences within single surgical specialties. The purpose of this study was to assess the educational and interprofessional effect of a microsurgical training course utilizing the nonliving "Blue-Blood" chicken thigh model (BBCTM) in a multidisciplinary environment. METHODS: A 10-hour course was developed integrating didactic lectures, case presentations, and one-on-one practical sessions utilizing hydrogel microvessels and the BBCTM. Pre- and postcourse surveys were administered assessing participants' self-reported comfort and confidence within fundamental microsurgical domains, assessments of the models utilized, and the effects of a multidisciplinary environment on the experience. RESULTS: A total of 19 residents attended the course on two separate occasions (n = 10 and n = 9, respectively). Respondents varied from postgraduate year-2 (PGY-2) to PGY-6+ and represented plastic and reconstructive surgery (n = 10), urology (n = 6), and otolaryngology (n = 3). On average, each participant performed 4.3 end-to-end, 1.3 end-to-side, and 0.4 coupler-assisted anastomoses. Following the course, participants felt significantly more comfortable operating a microscope and handling microsurgical instruments. They felt significantly more confident handling tissues, manipulating needles, microdissecting, performing end-to-end anastomoses, performing end-to-side anastomoses, using an anastomotic coupler, and declaring anastomoses suitable (all p < 0.05). The majority of participants believed that the use of live animals in the course would have minimally improved their learning. All but two respondents believed the course improved their awareness of the value of microsurgery in other specialties "very much" or "incredibly." CONCLUSION: A microsurgical training course utilizing nonliving models such as the "BBCTM significantly improves resident comfort and confidence in core operative domains and offers an in vivo experience without the use of live animals. Multispecialty training experiences in microsurgery are beneficial, desired, and likely underutilized.

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publication date

  • 2020