Ideal surgical training models should be entirely reliable, atoxic, easy to handle, and, if possible, low cost. All available models have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice of one or another will depend on the type of surgery to be performed. The authors created an anatomical model called the S.I.M.O.N.T. (Sinus Model Oto-Rhino Neuro Trainer) Neurosurgical Endotrainer, which can provide reliable neuroendoscopic training. The aim in the present study was to assess both the quality of the model and the development of surgical skills by trainees.
The S.I.M.O.N.T. is built of a synthetic thermoretractable, thermosensible rubber called Neoderma, which, combined with different polymers, produces more than 30 different formulas. Quality assessment of the model was based on qualitative and quantitative data obtained from training sessions with 9 experienced and 13 inexperienced neurosurgeons. The techniques used for evaluation were face validation, retest and interrater reliability, and construct validation.
The experts considered the S.I.M.O.N.T. capable of reproducing surgical situations as if they were real and presenting great similarity with the human brain. Surgical results of serial training showed that the model could be considered precise. Finally, development and improvement in surgical skills by the trainees were observed and considered relevant to further training. It was also observed that the probability of any single error was dramatically decreased after each training session, with a mean reduction of 41.65% (range 38.7%–45.6%).
Neuroendoscopic training has some specific requirements. A unique set of instruments is required, as is a model that can resemble real-life situations. The S.I.M.O.N.T. is a new alternative model specially designed for this purpose. Validation techniques followed by precision assessments attested to the model's feasibility.