INTRODUCTION: Despite hundreds of training models for microsurgery being available in the literature, very few of them are scientifically validated. We chose to validate our low-fidelity training model on flower petals by comparing it head-to-head with a moderate fidelity training model, the anastomosis on chicken leg femoral artery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 16 participants of different levels of expertise were randomized into 2 groups, 1 training on flower petals and 1 on chicken leg femoral arteries. The groups were evaluated on performing a rat femoral artery anastomosis using the validated Stanford Microsurgical Assessment (SMaRT) Scale. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to check for statistically significant differences between the groups. The flower petal sutures were also evaluated and Pearson correlation was used to check for associations between better petal anastomosis scores and better final SMaRT results. RESULTS: After 6 weeks of flower petal training, microsurgical trainees had significantly better overall SMaRT scores than trainees using chicken leg training, better fine tissue feeling, and better scores in knot tying. The anastomosis times for the rat femoral arteries did not differ between the 2 groups. Good scores for flower petals strongly correlated with a better SMaRT score for the anastomosis. The number of rats used in training reduced after the implementation of this model in continuous training. CONCLUSIONS: The flower petal technique, despite being a low-fidelity model, shows superiority in developing fine tissue feeling and improved knot tying in microsurgery beginners and intermediate level practitioners adding this training model to their program. Further research needs to establish if the improvements also apply to already seasoned microsurgeons and whether the petal score has predictive value for future clinical application.

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VSNU Open Access deal
Annals of Plastic Surgery

Volovici, V., Dammers, R., Lawton, M.T. (Michael T.), Dirven, C., Ketelaar, T. (Tijs), Lanzino, G. (Giuseppe), & Zamfirescu, D. G. (2019). The Flower Petal Training System in Microsurgery: Validation of a Training Model Using a Randomized Controlled Trial. Annals of Plastic Surgery, 83(6), 697–701. doi:10.1097/SAP.0000000000001914