Virtual Reality Surgical Training Yields Better Results than Standard Surgical Guide, Study Shows

August 28, 2019


As the modern practice of medicine is changing rapidly, so too is the study of medicine. Among the proof are results of a University of California, Los Angeles study presented at the recent Western Orthopaedic Association Annual Meeting in Monterey, CA. According to study co-author Gideon W. Blumstein, MD, MS, medical students who underwent surgical training with a virtual reality program performed significantly better in a simulated procedure than did students trained with a standard surgical guide.

To conduct the study, Blumstein and colleagues randomly assigned 20 first- and second-year medical students to learn a tibial intramedullary nailing procedure through either a virtual reality simulated education tool or a standard surgical guide. Researchers used a global assessment tool and checklist to assess the students’ abilities immediately after their initial training, then again two weeks later.

The results: Students who trained with the virtual reality simulator had significantly higher global assessment scores, Blumstein said, noting that students in the virtual reality group performed more of the surgical steps correctly than did students in the standard training group in the first assessment. Students in both groups showed improvement in the second assessment, though the virtual reality learning group again landed the highest scores. 

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