Can the learning of laparoscopic skills be quantified by the measurements of skill parameters performed in a virtual reality simulator? - Abstract

PURPOSE: To ensure patient safety and surgical efficiency, much emphasis has been placed on the training of laparoscopic skills using virtual reality simulators. The purpose of this study was to determine whether laparoscopic skills can be objectively quantified by measuring specific skill parameters during training in a virtual reality surgical simulator (VRSS).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten medical students (with no laparoscopic experience) and ten urology residents (PGY3-5 with limited laparoscopic experience) were recruited to participate in a ten-week training course in basic laparoscopic skills (camera, cutting, peg transfer and clipping skills) on a VRSS. Data were collected from the training sessions. The time that individuals took to complete each task and the errors that they made were analyzed independently.

RESULTS: The mean time that individuals took to complete tasks was significantly different between the groups (p < 0.05), with the residents being faster than the medical students. The residents' group also completed the tasks with fewer errors. The majority of the subjects in both groups exhibited a significant improvement in their task completion time and error rate.

CONCLUSION: The findings in this study demonstrate that laparoscopic skills can be objectively measured in a VRSS based on quantified skill parameters, including the time spent to complete skill tasks and the associated error rate. We conclude that a VRSS is a feasible tool for training and assessing basic laparoscopic skills.

Written by:
Sandy NS1, Cruz JA, Passerotti CC, Nguyen H, Reis ST, Gouveia EM, Duarte RJ, Bruschini H, Srougi M   Are you the author?
1Urology Department, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Reference: Int Braz J Urol. 2013 May-Jun;39(3):371-6
doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2013.03.10

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 23849568 Endourology Section