Validation of Improvement of Basic Competency in Arthroscopic Knot Tying Using a Bench Top Simulator in Orthopaedic Residency Education

Alexander C.M. Chong, Ryan C. Pate, Daniel J. Prohaska, Tyler R. Bron, Paul H. Wooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose To validate basic competency in arthroscopic knot tying using a unique simulator device to compare the level of training needed for learning and tying the arthroscopic knot by evaluating the tensile properties of the arthroscopic knots. Methods Three groups of surgeons of various experience levels (postgraduate year [PGY] 1, PGY 3, and experienced surgeons) tied 2 different arthroscopic knots (Tennessee Slider, considered easier, and Weston, considered more difficult) over a 10-week period. Each group went through 3 separate stages of knot tying: stage 1, tying 8 knots without cannula or knot pusher; stage 2, tying 12 knots with knot pusher; and stage 3, tying 20 knots with knot pusher through a cannula that simulates knot tying during surgery. A single load-to-failure test was performed and ultimate clinical failure loads were recorded. Time needed to tie each knot was also recorded. Results At stages 1 and 2, the PGY 1 group had a significantly weak knot tensile strength (Tennessee Slider stage 1: 60 v 129 N, P =.001; Tennessee Slider stage 2: 69 v 132 N, P =.0029; Weston stage 1: 73 v 184 N, P =.0000; Weston stage 2: 125 v 173 N, P =.0045) and were slower (Weston: 56 v 30 seconds, P =.0010) than the experienced surgeon group for both knots. At stage 3, only the initial 2 weeks of Tennessee Slider showed a significant difference between groups 1 and 3 (week 6: 87 v 118 N, P =.0492; week 7: 89 v 126, P =.01485). Even though the Tennessee Slider knot is one of the easier arthroscopic knots to learn to tie, the results showed a slow trend of improvement in this knot-tying skill for group 1 after each stage. Conclusions The data validated an important learning effect in all trainees in arthroscopic knot tying over a 10-week period and showed that inexperienced trainees will be able to improve their knot-tying skill with training in 3 stages with a simulator environment. Clinical Relevance The findings of this study indicated the importance of hands-on experience in performing arthroscopic knot tying, as determined by both knot performance and ultimate suture loop strength. In addition, each orthopaedic resident learned and developed his or her arthroscopic knot-tying skills and provided a foundation for his or her future practice in orthopaedic medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1399
Number of pages11
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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