Journal of Surgical Simulation 2022; 9: 1 - 8

Published: 16 March 2022


Review article

The developing role of simulation within surgical training and the need for equitable access: a narrative review

Charles Taylor and Anna Chiara Corriero
Corresponding author: Charles Taylor, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 6YD, UK. Email:


Background: In recent years, surgical training has undergone considerable change and COVID-19 has accelerated the rate at which training methods have needed to be updated. Education of surgical trainees is now transitioning from that of a clinical setting to that of a simulated skills laboratory. This article aims to outline the importance of ensuring equitable access to high-fidelity surgical training equipment and to bring to attention the potential consequences of non-standardized surgical simulation exposure.

Methods: Data collection was performed using the PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE and Embase bibliographical databases with a predefined search strategy between 11 February 2021 and 1 June 2021. All articles considering surgical education via simulation technologies were considered.

Results: Twenty eight studies were deemed eligible for inclusion in a qualitative synthesis. Despite the increasing popularity of simulation, simulation-guided learning has yet to become fully integrated within all curricula, and the use of these technologies is yet to be adequately evaluated in a post-pandemic context. Therefore, there is a need to educate and inform medical students and surgical trainees, who will all be required to learn from and be assessed on simulated clinical technologies.

Conclusions: Surgical training methods must be consistently updated so that they reflect the transitioning cultural, social-economic, and political expectations and restraints on surgical curricula. Continual development of simulation facilities is required to ensure sustainable integration within surgical training. Equitable access for all trainees must be a future point of focus if surgical training is to continue at its current level.


simulation; simulated learning; surgical training; surgical education; high-fidelity