Simulation Training in Spine Surgery

Simulated surgery is part of a growing paradigm shift in surgical education as a whole. Various modalities from cadaver models to virtual reality have been developed and studied within the context of surgical education. Simulation training in spine surgery has an immense potential to improve education and ultimately improve patient safety. This is due to the inherent risk of operating the spine and the technical difficulty of modern techniques. Common procedures in the modern orthopaedic armamentarium, such as pedicle screw placement, can be simulated, and proficiency is rapidly achieved before application in patients. Furthermore, complications such as dural tears can be simulated and effectively managed in a safe environment with simulation. New techniques with steeper learning curves, such as minimally invasive techniques, can now be safely simulated. Hence, augmenting surgical education through simulation has great potential to benefit trainees and practicing orthopaedic surgeons in modern spine surgery techniques. Additional work will aim to improve access to such technologies and integrate them into the current orthopaedic training curriculum. See PDF for full report.