Fresh frozen human cadaver as a method of surgical training – clinical study

. 2012 Jul-Sep; 16(3): 345–352.


The construct validity of fresh frozen human cadaver training has not been established previously. The aims of this study were to investigate the construct validity of fresh frozen human cadaver as a method of training in minimal access surgery and determine if novices can be rapidly trained using this model to a safe level of performance.


Junior surgical trainees, novices (<3 laparoscopic procedure performed) in laparoscopic surgery, performed 10 repetitions of a set of structured laparoscopic tasks on fresh frozen cadavers. Expert laparoscopists (>100 laparoscopic procedures) performed 3 repetitions of identical tasks. Performances were scored using a validated, objective Global Operative Assessment of Laparoscopic Skills scale. Scores for 3 consecutive repetitions were compared between experts and novices to determine construct validity. Furthermore, to determine if the novices reached a safe level, a trimmed mean of the experts score was used to define a benchmark.

Mann-Whitney U test was used for construct validity analysis and 1-sample t test to compare performances of the novice group with the benchmark safe score.


Ten novices and 2 experts were recruited. Four out of 5 tasks (nondominant to dominant hand transfer; simulated appendicectomy; intracorporeal and extracorporeal knot tying) showed construct validity. Novices’ scores became comparable to benchmark scores between the eighth and tenth repetition.


Minimal access surgical training using fresh frozen human cadavers appears to have construct validity. The laparoscopic skills of novices can be accelerated through to a safe level within 8 to 10 repetitions.

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