The authors evaluated the accuracies and ease of use of several commonly used microanastomosis training models (synthetic tube, chicken wing, and living rat model).
A survey was conducted among neurosurgeons and neurosurgery residents at a workshop held in 2009 at the authors' institute. Questions addressed model accuracy (similarity to real vessels and actual procedures) and practicality (availability of materials and ease of application in daily practice). Answers to each question were rated using a 5-point scale. Participants were also asked what types of training methods they would chose to improve their skills and to introduce the topic to other neurosurgeons or neurosurgery residents.
Of the 24 participants, 20 (83.3%) responded to the survey. The living rat model was favored for model accuracy (p < 0.001; synthetic tube -0.95 ± 0.686, chicken wing, 0.15 ± 0.587, and rat, 1.75 ± 0.444) and the chicken wing model for practicality (p < 0.001; synthetic tube -1.55 ± 0.605, chicken wing, 1.80 ± 0.523, and rat, 1.30 ± 0.923). All (100%) chose the living rat model for improving their skills, and for introducing the subject to other neurosurgeons or neurosurgery residents, the chicken wing and living rat models were selected by 18 (90%) and 20 (100%), respectively.
Of 3 methods examined, the chicken wing model was found to be the most practical, but the living rat model was found to represent reality the best. We recommend the chicken wing model to train surgeons who have mastered basic techniques, and the living rat model for experienced surgeons to maintain skill levels.