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J Urol. 2004 Jan;171(1):320-3; discussion 323.

Use of a virtual reality simulator for ureteroscopy training.

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  • 1Department of Urology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, 75390, USA.



Virtual reality surgical simulators may shorten operative time and reduce the potential for iatrogenic injury by providing training outside the operating room. We hypothesized that training on a virtual ureteroscopy (VU) simulator would allow novice endoscopists to overcome the initial learning curve before entering the operating room.


We evaluated 16 medical students on their ability to perform specific ureteroscopic tasks on a VU simulator. The students trained on the simulator for a total of 5 hours over multiple sessions using different training modules and then were retested on the initial module. Likewise, 16 urology residents with varying degrees of endoscopic experience were assessed on the same test module twice, without additional simulator training.


The students improved task completion time from 17.4 to 8.7 minutes (p <0.05), while the residents performed the task in 7.6 minutes at baseline and 6.7 minutes at the second trial. Stratification of residents by years of urology training revealed that the mean completion time for the students after training did not differ statistically from that of first year residents who had performed a median of 14 clinical ureteroscopies. Furthermore, the subjective performance scores of the students were comparable to those of the first year residents.


Novice medical students trained on a VU simulator improved task completion time by 50% after training, and performed comparably to residents who had completed nearly 1 year of urology training. VR training may allow beginning urology residents to shorten the initial learning curve associated with ureteroscopy training, although this hypothesis requires further validation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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