Despite widespread adoption of simulation-based training in medical education, there remains scepticism about its cost-effectiveness and long-term impact on patient outcomes. Medical simulation is well established in anaesthesia where it is considered an important educational tool. This review of key clinical anaesthesia literature is used as a case study of clinician uptake within a specialty and to investigate evidence for translational impact using both qualitative and quantitative data. We examined high-impact journal publications from 2001 to 2010 and extracted data covering authors, institutions, simulation modality, purposes of simulation, and various aspects of study design/methodology used. A total of 320 papers containing primary data were included. We found broad acceptance and uptake in anaesthesia with an increase in publications over the time period, mainly attributable to a steady increase in manikin studies. Studies using manikin technology (130/320; 41%) are distinguished as skills/performance studies (76; 58%) and studies focused on the use, testing, and validation of equipment (52; 40%). A total of 110 papers (34%) assessed the performance of technical and non-technical skills (68% and 32%, respectively). Growth in the use of structured checklists/validated tools to assess performance is mainly observed in the non-technical domain. Only 10% of these papers include follow-up data from the clinical environment. There is a lack of research examining performance transfer, sustainability, and direct patient outcomes and experiences. These publication patterns are instructive for those involved in medical educational and for other clinical specialties developing simulation.