WCE 2017: Effectiveness of Procedural Virtual Reality Simulation in Surgical Training

Vancouver, Canada (UroToday.com) Mr. Patrick Harrison, a medical student from the Kings College London, presented data that compared the effectiveness of procedural virtual reality (VR) training to basic virtual reality training and other types of simulation training. As an introduction to his talk, Mr. Harrison explained how basic VR provides computer generated images to create tasks that replicate the skills needed for real life surgery. However, procedural VR has specific modules to replicate a real-life environment with increasingly accurate anatomy to not only replicate the skills needed, but the environment these skills will be used for. Their aim was to evaluate if there was a difference in the effectiveness and acquisition of surgical skills between basic VR, procedural VR, and other types of simulation training.

A narrative review on databases such as EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Cochrane was conducted using OVID. This resulted in 15 randomized controlled trials and 5 cohort studies on procedural VR training. Their team found in 10 studies, procedural VR training groups had a significantly better outcome compared a control group  (3 in VR, 2 in porcine models, 4 with live patients in the OR, 1 with a model in the OR). 

When comparing procedural VR to other types of simulation training, there was one study that showed a better outcome for procedural VR when compared to Box training. Six studies showed there was no difference between procedural VR and another type of simulation (Box, model, and basic VR training). Four studies showed better outcomes for other types of simulation training (Box, Basic VR, and Cadaver training).

Basic versus procedural VR was compared in only three studies. One study showed there was no difference between the two VR trainings. Another study found basic VR training had better outcomes than procedural VR training. Lastly, one study found that residents performed better on a procedural VR module if they preformed basic VR tasks prior to the procedural training. 

In conclusion, Mr. Harrison and his team determined procedural VR training may be more effective for those who have already acquired basic surgical skills from either basic VR, benchtop models, or another type of simulation training. He proposed a future direction for this study could be to investigate both basic and procedural VR simulation to determine when a trainee surgeon will gain the most from procedural VR training. 

Presented by: Patrick Harrison

Authors: Patrick Harrison, Nicholas Raison, Kamran Ahmed, MBBS, MRCS, PhD, FRCS Urol, Takashige Abe, MD/PhD
Affiliation: MRC Centre for Transplatation, Kings College London, London, England, UK, Department of Urology, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s Health Partners, London, UK, Hokkaido University Hospital, Sapporo, Japan

Written by Cyrus Lin, Department of Urology, University of California-Irvine at 35th World Congress of Endourology– September 12-16, 2017, Vancouver, Canada.