Objective To evaluate the use of 2 inexpensive laparoscopic trainers (iTrainers) constructed of easily attainable materials and portable tablets (iPads). Methods Two different laparoscopic trainers were constructed using a cardboard box, thumbtacks, and Velcro tape (box trainer). A separate box was constructed using the same supplies with a 3-ring binder (binder trainer). An iPad was used as the camera and monitor for both trainers. A total of 10 participants, including 4 junior surgical residents, 4 senior surgical residents, and 2 surgical staff, completed 3 Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) tasks using the 2 "iTrainers." Participants then completed the same tasks on a traditional FLS box trainer. All 10 participants were asked to complete a 13-question survey after the exercises. Results All the participants (100%) had access to an "iPad" for the visualization component. The 10 participants completed all 3 tasks on all 3 trainers. Senior residents outperformed junior residents on 6 of the 9 total tasks. Attending surgeons outperformed all residents on all tasks and trainers. Survey results revealed the cardboard box "iTrainer" to be the most practical and easiest to construct. Conclusion "iTrainers" are an inexpensive and easy-to-construct alternative to traditional box trainers that might have construct validity as demonstrated in this trial. The box trainer might be easier to construct and have more similarities to the FLS trainer than the binder iTrainer.
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