Surgical Skills Laboratory

Surgical Skills LaboratoryIn 2007, the American College of Surgeons completed its Phase I Surgical Skills Curriculum for Residents. This curriculum is based on didactic and psychomotor skills training offered in skills lab settings. Guthrie’s Clinical Skills Laboratory and Simulation Center offers a resource for residents and surgeons pursuing technical expertise in line with the ACS curriculum.

The lab provides an appropriate setting outside the operating room for residents and surgeons to gain proficiency with, or brush up on, a variety of techniques. For surgical residents, this represents a departure from traditional “see one, do one, teach one” methodology, instead offering hands-on training prior to a patient encounter. The skills lab hosts lectures, laboratory sessions and scheduled training.


  • Five dedicated rooms: three training rooms equipped and staged appropriately to the skill being practiced; one lecture space; and an office.
  • Equipment, such as the Stryker endoscopic video system, anesthesia machine, Valley Lab cautery machine, and other technologies decommissioned by the hospital
  • Expired items like central line kits and sterile supplies are also utilized during training.

High Fidelity options:

  • Endoscopy AccuTouch Colonoscopy Simulator, which includes both upper and lower gastrointestinal flexible endoscopy. The endoscopy simulator uses virtual reality.
  • Bronchoscopy module
  • Noelle Birthing Trainer, a customizable trainer mannequin capable of being programmed to present a variety of scenarios. Wireless newborn mannequin also available.

Low Fidelity options:

  • TraumaMan, a simulator for surgical skills training, including cricothyroidotomy, chest tube insertion, pericardiocentesis, diagnostic peritoneal lavage, and IV cutdown.
  • CentraLineMan, a venous simulator to train surgeons on subclavian, supraclavicular and internal jugular central line access. CentraLineMan also allows the user to practice real-time ultrasound guidance during central line catheter placement.
  • Pig bowel and vessels are provided for surgeons to practice enteric or vascular anastomotic techniques on organic tissue.
  • Box trainers are available to practice laparoscopic skills such as: tissue manipulation and dissection, application of Endo-Loops, and intra/extra-corporeal knot tying.
  • Laparoscopic box trainers are utilized to practice the skills that comprise the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) program, developed by SAGES and jointly supported by the ACS, FLS is a comprehensive educational module designed to teach the physiology, fundamental knowledge and technical skills required in basic laparoscopy.

While low fidelity tools are not intended to closely approximate a living subject, their components are anatomically true. Repetitive use of low fidelity tools helps residents gain an understanding of procedure and appropriate situational response.

The Clinic Skills and Simulation Laboratory hosts residents and staff from various departments and specialties such as: surgery, cardiology, neurosurgery, respiratory, anesthesiology, ER and orthopaedics. Training topics have included: stapled bowel anastomosis, endoscopic vein harvest, skin suturing, laparoscopic surgery, catheter placement, central line insertion, joint injection/aspiration, Endo-Stitch laparoscopic suturing device training, chest tube insertion, interventional vascular techniques and vascular anastomosis. Basics like gowning, gloving, draping and sterility are also offered. In addition, the lab provides space for training on non-surgical equipment like the Vocera VOIP communication device.