The role of simulation in neurosurgical education: A survey of 99 United States neurosurgery program directors

Aruna Ganju, Salah G. Aoun, Marc R. Daou, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Alice Chang, Lucy Wang, H. Hunt Batjer, Bernard R. Bendok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objective: With the reduction of resident work hours and the increasing focus on patient safety, it has become evident that simulation has a growing role to play in surgical education. We surveyed the program directors of 99 U.S. Neurosurgery programs in an effort to better understand how simulation can be implemented in Neurosurgery and to gain insight into key issues that are currently being discussed amongst Neurosurgical educators. Methods: A 14-item questionnaire was emailed to 99 Neurosurgery residency program directors. Questions assessed the clinical impact of simulation, the role of simulation in academia, the investments required in time and money, and the model best suited for simulation. Results: The survey response rate was 53.5%. Seventy-two percent of respondents believed that simulation would improve patient outcome, 74% that it could supplement conventional training, but only 25% that it could replace it. The majority strongly believed that it could help preparing complex cases and could be of use to attending faculty. Forty-five percent thought that residents should achieve pre-defined levels of proficiency on simulators before working on patients. Seventy-four percent of respondents declared they would make simulator practice mandatory if available, and the majority was willing to invest daily time and considerable funds on simulators. Cadavers were the least preferred models to use compared to virtual simulation and noncadaveric physical models. Conclusions: Simulation should be integrated in Neurosurgery training curricula. The validation of available tools is the next step that will enable the training, acquisition, and testing of neurosurgical skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e8
JournalWorld neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Academic training
  • Curriculum
  • Neurosurgical simulation
  • Program directors
  • Resident education
  • Work-hour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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