In recent years, dramatic changes in surgical education have increased interest in simulation-based training for complex surgical skills. This is particularly true for endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), given the potential for serious intraoperative errors arising from surgical inexperience. However, prior to simulator development, a thorough assessment of training needs is essential to ensure development of educationally relevant platforms. The purpose of this study was to conduct a national needs assessment addressing specific goals of instruction, to guide development of simulation platforms, training curricula, and assessment metrics for ETV.
Canadian neurosurgeons performing ETV were invited to participate in a structured online questionnaire regarding the procedural steps for ETV, the frequency and significance of intraoperative errors committed while learning the technique, and simulation training modules of greatest potential educational benefit. Descriptive data analysis was completed for both quantitative and qualitative responses.
Thirty-two (55.2%) of 58 surgeons completed the survey. All believed that virtual reality simulation training for ETV would be a valuable addition to clinical training. Selection of ventriculostomy site, navigation within the ventricles, and performance of the ventriculostomy ranked as the most important steps to simulate. Technically inadequate ventriculostomy and inappropriate fenestration site selection were ranked as the most frequent/significant errors. A standard ETV module was thought to be most beneficial for resident training.
To inform the development of a simulation-based training program for ETV, the authors have conducted a national needs assessment. The results provide valuable insight to inform key design elements necessary to construct an educationally relevant device and educational program.