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J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2005 Feb;15(1):13-7.

Laparoscopic baseline ability assessment by virtual reality.

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  • 1University of Tennessee at Memphis, TN 38163, USA.



Assessment of any surgical skill is time-consuming and difficult. Currently, there are no accepted metrics for most surgical skills, especially laparoscopic skills. Virtual reality has been utilized for laparoscopic training of surgical residents. Our hypothesis is that this technology can be utilized for laparoscopic ability metrics.


This study involved medical students with no previous laparoscopic experience. All students were taken into a porcine laboratory in order to assess two operative tasks (measuring a piece of bowel and placing a piece of bowel into a laparoscopic bag). Then they were taken into an inanimate lab with a Minimally Invasive Surgery Trainer-Virtual Reality (MIST-VR). Each student repeatedly performed one task (placing a virtual reality ball into a receptacle). The students' scores and times from the animate lab were compared with average economy of movement and times from the MIST-VR. The MIST-VR scored both hands individually.


Thirty-two first- and second-year medical students were included in the study. There was statistically significant (P < 0.05) correlation between 11 of 16 possible relationships between the virtual reality trainer and operative tasks.


While not all of the possible relationships demonstrated statistically significant correlation, the majority of the possible relationships demonstrated statistically significant correlation. Virtual reality may be an avenue for measuring laparoscopic surgical ability.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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