ABOS Surgical Skills Modules for PGY-1 Residents

ABOS Surgical Skills Modules for PGY-1 Residents

Developed By:   James E. Carpenter, MD (ABOS), Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD (ABOS), Michelle A. James, MD (ABOS), Joel T. Jeffries, MD (AOA/CORD), J. Lawrence Marsh, MD – Chair  (ABOS), David F. Martin, MD (ABOS), Peter M. Murray, MD (ABOS), Bradford O. Parsons, MD (AAOS), Robert A. Pedowitz, MD, Ph.D. Co-Chair (AAOS), Brian C. Toolan, MD (AAOS), Ann E. Van Heest, MD (AOA/CORD), M. Daniel Wongworawat, MD (AAOS)

In the winter of 2012, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), and the Residency Review Committee (RRC) for Orthopaedic Surgery agreed to changes in program requirements for the PGY-1.  One mandate to become effective beginning July 2013 was the introduction of simulation training to improve surgical skills by establishing goals and objectives and assessment metrics; providing training in skills used in the initial management of injured patients and basic operative skills to prepare residents to participate in surgical procedures  A space dedicated for this activity is required.  The ABOS and RRC believe that these changes will generate simulation programs to enhance residents’ acquisition of skills early in their training to better prepare them for more advanced skills later, resulting in better care of their patients. 

To assist orthopaedic Program Directors with this mandate, the Surgical Skills Task Force (SSTF, see members listed above) was convened by the ABOS with support from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Orthopaedic Association and the Council of Orthopaedic Residency Directors (AOA/CORD).  The task force was charged with developing a curriculum of simulation exercises for the orthopaedic PGY-1.

Between September of 2012 and June of 2013, the task force met on three occasions.  During the first meeting the task force proposed a curriculum of 17 modules that covered a wide spectrum of orthopaedic PGY-1 skills, as well as a template for the modules.  The curriculum goals were to 1) assist program directors in the planning of skills exercises; 2) assist PGY-1 residents in performing these exercises while minimizing faculty time; and 3) offer low tech/low cost options.  In the ensuing months, task force members with the assistance of faculty members from the University at Iowa, members of other project teams (AANA-AAOS-ABOS Fast Program and AAOS-OTA fluoroscopy project) and other interested surgeons, developed written, power point, and video content for the modules and personally performed most of the skills exercises. These modules are now available on the ABOS website.

This modular curriculum is offered as a guide to program directors in developing their individual skills programs.  The modules are made freely available for use and download to serve as one option to meet the new ABOS/RRC requirements.  However, the program requirements do not specify this or any other curriculum in particular. 

The SSTF recognizes that surgical skills’ training and simulation in orthopaedic surgery will be a rapidly developing and evolving field.  With experience, these modules will be refined and modified to optimally serve program directors and PGY-1 residents, and future modules will be developed to coincide with the rapid progress of technology.   Assessments and performance metrics are suggested for each of the modules, but over time and with dedicated study, the content of the modules and the assessment metrics will require validation.  Hence, this project will be a continuing work-in-progress, but is a first step in moving skills training from a system relying on the apprenticeship method in the operating room, to a system where dedicated training/practice in a controlled environment through simulation to achieve proficiency will start new learners on a path toward becoming highly skilled orthopaedic surgeons.

Listed below are the Surgical Skills Modules.  To select a module, click on the corresponding link.


Module 1 Sterile Technique-Operating Room Setup Module 2 Suturing and Knot Tying
Module 3 Microsurgical Suturing Technique Module 4 Soft Tissue Handling and Dissection
Module 5 Casting and Splinting: Splints, Casts, and Removal Module 6 Traction Techniques
Module 7 Compartment Syndrome. Diagnosis and Treatment Module 8 Bone Handling Techniques- Osteotomy
Module 9 Fluoroscopic Knowledge and Skills Module 10 K-Wire Techniques
Module 11 Techniques Basic to Internal Fixation of Fractures Module 12 Principles and Techniques of Fracture Reduction
Module 13 Basics Techniques in External Fixation Module 14 Basic Arthroscopy Skills
Module 15 Basic Arthroplasty Skills (TKA & THA) Module 16 Joint Aspiration and Injection
Module 17 Patient Safety, Team Training, Obtaining Consent

In order to veiw the module PDFs, you will need Adobe reader to open them.  If you are having trouble, please follow the following link to download the Adobe PDF reader.

acrobat link 

If you are having trouble viewing the videos within the module, please download the latest version ofQuicktime, found in the link below.