The Effect of a Focused Instructional Session on Knowledge of Surgical Staplers in General Surgery Residents

Ryan J. McColl, Shahzeer Karmali, Artan Reso, Elizabeth Paolucci, Vadim Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Surgical stapling devices have been used for a variety of purposes in both laparosopic and open surgery. Nevertheless, trainees rarely receive any focused instruction on their application and use. This study attempts to determine the baseline knowledge of surgical stapling devices possessed by surgical residents. Furthermore, we attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of a short didactic session in improving the trainee's knowledge of the use and function of surgical staplers. Methods: A 20-question multiple-choice test was created to evaluate a general surgery resident's knowledge on the design and use of circular, linear, and laparoscopic surgical staplers. The test was administered before and after attending a 40-minute instructional session on surgical stapling devices. The tests were then scored by a data analyst. Results: A total of 26 residents of 39 in the residency program (26/39, 67%) participated. The pretest mean was 10.62/20 (53%), whereas the posttest mean was 15.38/20 (77%). These results were significantly different on paired samples t-test analysis (t(25) = -10.3; p < 0.05). The mean pretest scores were also significantly different between resident levels (R1-R2, 9.50; R3-R5, 11.31; t(24) = -2.10; p < 0.05). Senior-level residents scored higher on posttest analysis, but this result was not significant (R1-R2, 14.70; R3-R5, 15.81; t(24) = -1.63; p > 0.05). Discussion: There is a deficiency of knowledge of surgical staplers in general surgery residents, more so in junior residents. Didactic instruction is effective in raising the level of knowledge of surgical staplers in all residents, up to a similar level. Surgical educators should consider implementing programs like these for staplers and other types of surgical equipment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-291
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • education
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • residents
  • stapling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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