Simulation-based Arthroscopic Skills Using a Spaced Retraining Schedule Reduces Short-term Task Completion Time and Camera Path Length

AuthorLi W, Zhang KJ, Yao S, Xie X, Han W, Xiong WB, Tian J.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether acquiring basic knee arthroscopic skills via a spaced retraining schedule could prevent skills deterioration and achieve further skills improvement.


In the learning phase, sixteen residents with no previous hands-on experience in practicing arthroscopic skills were asked to perform basic arthroscopic tasks on a simulator until they attained perfect scores in each task. Immediately after completing the learning phase, a pretest was performed to assess their performance. Next, they were randomly assigned into two groups. The spaced retraining group, which undertook a spaced repetitive training phase with a fixed-time interval, returned on Day 2, 4 and 6 to repeat the same tasks for 20 minutes per day, while the control group did nothing. On Day 7, all participants performed a posttest. A 2 × 2 mixed ANOVA model was used for statistical analysis.


Significant differences between the 2 groups were found in task completion time ( P=0.003) and camera path length ( P=0.043) but not cartilage injury ( P=0.186). Residents in the spaced retraining group decreased their task completion time (163.2 ± 23.9 s) whereas the task time in the control group increased (351.3 ± 25.5 s). The same pattern was found with the camera path length.


Implementing a spaced retraining schedule in 1 week resulted in a reduced task completion time and camera path length, but no significant reduction in cartilage injury. It appears that introducing a spaced retraining schedule in order to retain arthroscopic skills acquired through massed learning may be advantageous.