A Simple and Low-cost Drilling Simulator for Training Plunging Distance Among Orthopedic Surgery Residents

Efi Kazum, Oleg Dolkart, Yoav Rosenthal, Haggai Sherman, Eyal Amar, Moshe Salai, Eran Maman, Ofir Chechik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Drilling through bone is a complex action that requires precise motor skills of an orthopedic surgeon. In order to minimize plunging and soft tissue damage, the surgeon must halt drill progression precisely following penetration of the far cortex. The purpose of this study was to create a low-cost and easy-to-use drilling simulator to train orthopedic residents in reducing the drill plunging depth. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: This prospective observational study was performed in the division of orthopedic surgery of a single tertiary medical center. The participants included 13 residents and 7 orthopedic specialists. The simulator consisted of a synthetic femur bone model and ordinary modeling clay, and the training unit consisted of a disposable plastic tube (∼US$14), clamps (∼US$58), and a power drill + drill bit (standard hospital equipment). Plunging depths were measured by the simulator and compared between orthopedic specialists, the 6 “senior residents” (3+ years) and the 7 “junior residents” during a training session. Measurements were taken again 2 weeks following the training session. RESULTS: Initially, the plunging depths of the junior residents were significantly greater compared to those of the orthopedic specialists (7.00 mm vs. 5.28 mm, respectively, p < 0.038). There was no similarly significant difference between the senior residents and the orthopedic experts ([6.33 mm vs. 5.28 mm, respectively; p = 0.18). The senior residents achieved plunging depths of 5.17 mm at the end of the training session and 4.7 mm 2 weeks later compared to 7.14 mm at the end of the training session and 6 mm 2 weeks later for the junior residents. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the capability of a low-cost drilling simulator as a training model for reducing the plunging depth during the drilling of bone and soft tissue among junior and senior residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-285
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Drilling
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Orthopedic residents
  • Plunging depth
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • Simulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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