Microsurgical skills training course and impact on trainee confidence and workload

Anita T. Mohan, Amro M. Abdelrahman, William J. Anding, Bethany R. Lowndes, Renaldo C. Blocker, M. Susan Hallbeck, Karim Bakri, Steven L. Moran, Samir Mardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Our objective was to measure the impact of a basic microsurgery training course on trainees’ confidence and workload in performing microsurgery. Methods: A prospective study of participants in an accredited 5-day microsurgery course over a 3-month period. The confidence and workload of the participants were assessed after the first and final day. The workload was assessed using the validated NASA Task Load Index composed of 6 subscales scored on a 20-point visual analog scale (VAS). Confidence was assessed over 5 dimensions on a 5-point VAS for anastomosis performance, vessels preparation, knot tying, training effectiveness, and future practice of microsurgery. Results: A total of 31 participants completed the study with 55% reporting some previous microsurgery experience. All confidence dimensions improved significantly after completing the course, regardless of prior experience (p<0.01). Those with prior experience started and finished the course at higher confidence levels in anastomosis performance and vessel preparation than the non-experienced group (p<0.05). Overall workload showed a downward trend (improvement) at the end of the course, but no significant changes in the experienced and non-experienced groups (p>0.05). Most participants scored above the 50% “sustainability threshold” for mental demand, both before (71%) and after the course (73%), however, perceived physical demand significantly reduced, p = 0.01. Conclusion: The microsurgery course teaches fundamental skills and principles; therefore, it has merit in those who will utilize these skills in their future practice. Although there is increased confidence in skill acquisition, the impact on perceived workload during a short 5-day basic microsurgery course did not significantly change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2135-2142
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Cognitive workload
  • Human factors
  • Microsurgery
  • Simulation training
  • Surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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