Can supervised training with a virtual reality (VR) simulator improve performance in cadaver temporal bone dissection?
Background: Cadaveric temporal bone dissection exercises are the cornerstones of otologic surgical training, but there is an increasing shortage of temporal bones worldwide and an increasing number of otorhinolaryngology trainees. The role of virtual reality (VR) is now recognized in surgical education and training. It’s important, however, to determine whether or not skills learned with VR transfer to real-life surgeries.
Study design: Randomized control trial.
Setting: Department of Otolaryngology and Educational Technology Health Informatics and Virtual Environments, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Synopsis: The randomized control trial included 20 students with minimal temporal bone experience. After receiving the same didactic teaching, the students were randomized into two groups. The traditional group received small group tutorials, videos and models. The VR group received supervised teaching on the VR simulator. Both groups then performed a cadaveric temporal bone dissection and were evaluated. The VR group performed significantly better (80 percent versus 45 percent) and caused smaller injuries to anatomic structures (19 percent versus 36 percent). Overall, performance scores were better, but there were no differences in technique score.
Bottom line: Supervised teaching using a VR simulator improves cadaveric temporal bone dissection performance when compared with traditional teaching methods.
Citation: Zhao YC, Kennedy G, Yakawa K, et al. Can virtual reality simulator be used as a training aid to improve cadaver temporal bone dissection? Results of a randomised blinded control trial. Laryngoscope. 2011;121(4):831-837.
—Reviewed by Sue Pondrom