Use of virtual platform for delivery of simulation-based laparoscopic training curriculum in LMICs

Zerubabbel K. Asfaw, Rachel Todd, Unwana Abasi, Maria Marcela Bailez, Jacqueline Narvaez, Ana Carrasquilla, Raul Hernandez Centeno, Guillermo Yanowsky Reyes, Linda P. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Laparoscopic surgery is rapidly expanding in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), yet many surgeons in LMICs have limited formal training in laparoscopy. In 2017, the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) implemented Global Laparoscopic Advancement Program (GLAP), an in-person simulation-based laparoscopic training curriculum for surgeons in LMICs. In light of COVID-19, SAGES adapted GLAP to a virtual format with telesimulation. This study explores the feasibility and efficacy of virtual laparoscopic simulation training in resource-limited settings. Methods: Participants from San Jose, Costa Rica, Leon, México, and Guadalajara, México enrolled in the virtual GLAP curriculum, meeting biweekly for 2-h didactic classes and 2-h hands-on live simulation practice. Surgical residents’ laparoscopic skills were evaluated using the five Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) tasks during the initial and final weeks of the program. Participants also completed pre-and post-program surveys assessing their perception of simulation-based training. Results: The study cohort consisted of 16 surgical attendings and 20 general surgery residents. A minimum 70% response rate was recorded across all surveys in the study. By the end of GLAP, residents completed all five tasks of the FLS exam within less time relative to their performance at the beginning of the training program (p < 0.05). Respondents (100%) reported that the program was a good use of their time and that education via telesimulation was easily reproduced. Participants indicated that the practice sessions, guidance, and feedback offered by mentors were their favorite elements of the training. Conclusion: A virtual simulation-based curriculum can be an effective strategy for laparoscopic skills training. Participants demonstrated an improvement in laparoscopic skills, and they appreciated the mentorship and opportunity to practice laparoscopic skills. Future programs can expand on using a virtual platform as a low-cost, effective strategy for providing laparoscopic skills training to surgeons in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1528-1536
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Global surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Low-and middle-income countries
  • Simulation-based learning
  • Telementoring
  • Teleproctoring


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