Journal of Surgical Simulation 2019; 6: 1 - 4

Published: 16 April 2019


Original article

Tendon repair simulation: a comparison of training models

Aya Musbahi, John Henton and Paolo Longhi
Corresponding author: Aya Musbahi, Northern Deanery, 1 Greenfield Road, Newcastle NE3 5TN, UK. Email:


Introduction: Surgical training has undergone many changes in the last few decades from the apprenticeship model of the past and a focus currently on shift patterns and working time directives. These have placed greater stresses on the current surgical trainees to obtain training opportunities, thus increasing the role for simulation activities and models. There is a need for reproducible, low cost and realistic training models for all surgical subspecialties. These allow the training exercise to be undertaken at any time, with supervision, and in a safe environment without compromise to patient care. As a training model for tendon repair, we created a simulated tendon that we believe is an excellent alternative to cadaveric, porcine or other materials such as liquorice.

Methods: Experienced trainees and consultants with exposure and experience in performing human tendon repair were asked to perform a simulated repair on each of three models: silicone bathroom sealant, porcine tendon and liquorice. Each model tendon was secured to a wooden board and cut at its midpoint. The models were 5 mm in diameter and between 5 and 10 cm long. Participants performed a modified Kessler repair using standard surgical instruments and a 3-0 monofilament suture, and rated each model using a five-point Likert scale to assess suture gliding, likeness to human tendon, tendon handling and usefulness for training.

Results: The porcine tendon was considered the most realistic (90.5%); however, the silicone model was a close second (86.5%). Silicone compared well for handling (4.4/5) and was considered superior to liquorice on all points. 

Conclusion: Silicone sealant as a model tendon is cheap, reproducible and a satisfactory alternative to other models of tendon simulation repair, and can be used to provide training opportunities.


tendon repair simulator; simulation; surgical education; silicone model; liquorice model

Additional Information

This study was presented at the Association of Surgeons in Training Conference, Glasgow, 2015.