, Volume 395, Issue 3, pp 277-283
Date: 19 Nov 2009

Sustainability of skill courses for general and visceral surgery—evaluation of the long-term effect

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Surgical skills courses are becoming increasingly popular. This study focuses on their long-term effects.

Participants and methods

Participants in a 1-week general and visceral surgery course were included. Exercises in conventional and laparoscopic surgery were conducted under tutor guidance. Eighteen months after the course at the earliest (18–90), all participants (n = 756) from 1999 to 2005 received a standardized questionnaire on the surgical training situation, the learning success, the implementation of acquired skills in routine clinical practice, and the value of skills courses.


We evaluated 459 of 756 participants (60.7%). The percentage of participants fully confident in their ability to suture a simple and a difficult anastomosis increased from 56.9% and 21.6% before to 93.5% and 59.3% after the course (p < 0.05). An improved surgical technique after the course was reported by 86.9%. Instrument handling changed after the course in 76.9%, and 68.1% stuck to this change. The evaluation showed that 89.5% wanted skill courses to become an integral part of surgical training.


Participants in a general and visceral surgery course profit from long-term modification and improvement of their surgical technique. The course is still rated positively many years later. A 1-week skills course in general and visceral surgery is an attractive module with long-term effects on surgical training.