Quantitative evaluation of retention of surgical skills learned in simulation.
While initial results suggest that simulation does promote learning, there is a dearth of studies that define the extent to which skills learned through simulation are retained. Residents skills were measured upon completion of an initial simulation training (baseline scores) and then every month for 6 months. Analysis was also performed to identify the number of iterations of practice required to regain baseline scores. While skill scores did not deteriorate from baseline after the first 3 months (p = 0.61, p = 0.44, p = 0.2, respectively), all scores (except time elapsed) reflected significant deterioration from the fourth month onward (p < 0.05, p < 0.032, p < 0.02). However the number of practice sessions required to regain baseline scores was significantly less than that required to achieve the baseline skill set (p < 0.0003). Skills learned through simulation show significant deterioration over long periods of time, suggesting that periodic retraining of skills may be necessary to maintain surgical proficiency. Copyright © 2010 Association of Program Directors in Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.