Journal of Surgical Simulation 2018; 5: 64 - 73

Published: 10 December 2018


Original article

Using mindfulness therapy in laparoscopic simulation training: a pilot study

Guillermo E. Narbona Yúsari, Isidora B. Burgos, Enrique A. Cari and Boris J. Marinkovic
Corresponding author: Guillermo E. Narbona Yúsari, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Los Andes, Mons. Álvaro del Portillo 12455, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile. Email:


Objective: Medical students and surgeons are living lives full of stress, which leads them to be in an accelerated state that can result in mistakes and frustration. Our constant desire to be better means that we can forget to be in the present. Mindfulness has been emerging as a new therapy that has been fruitful in different areas. The objective of this study is to explore whether mindfulness therapy could improve laparoscopic training in medical students.

Design: A pilot study was performed with 10 first-year medical student volunteers. The students were randomly assigned to a control group or the mindfulness group. The control group received no intervention at all. The mindfulness group received mindfulness sessions for 15–20 min free of charge before the laparoscopic training. Five modified tests in laparoscopic simulation were included. The time for two pre-tests and three tests was measured after an assigned training time.

Setting: The study was performed at the Center for Surgical Skills Training at the University of Chile, Santiago.

Participants: The study included 10 first-year medical student volunteers from Universidad de Los Andes (50% male and 50% female). We chose to conduct the study with first-year students because they had not had any previous experience in surgery or laparoscopy.

Results: All 10 participants finished the trial. There were no significant differences in the times for the pre-tests between the two groups. The best improvement between the pre-tests and tests was achieved by the mindfulness group for the colour matching task with an improvement of 72 ± 1.1 s. The mindfulness group showed a better performance in all final tests compared with the control group, which was statistically significant (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: In this study, the test times for the group who were exposed to mindfulness therapy were improved (reduced) compared with those of the control group. The development and implementation of mindfulness laparoscopic simulation training may be feasible. Further studies are justified to confirm that hypothesis.


mindfulness therapy; laparoscopic training; surgical simulation training; surgical skills