In response to the lack of standardized evaluation of technical skills, the authors developed an examination protocol for the grading of resident progress. The examination involved a knowledge portion and a cadaveric skills portion (OSATS). The OSATS was subdivided into an 18 step checklist, a Global Rating Scale, Pass/Fail, and time to completion. Twenty-eight residents at different levels of training completed the assessment. The evaluations were performed by two certified orthopedic hand surgeons.
Statistically significant progression was noted for each of portion of the exam. Residents progressed with respect to the knowledge portion of testing with each year of training. The number of previously performed carpal tunnel releases also significantly increased with each year of training. Correlation between knowledge testing and OSATS pass/fail was noted with a score of 70.
The authors conclude that the model demonstrates progression of skills in performing the procedure of carpal tunnel release as expected during residency training. They were also able to demonstrate that mastering the knowledge did not necessarily correlate to mastering the technical skills required for surgery.