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J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2012 May-Jun;19(3):272-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2012.01.012.

Surgical simulation: where have we come from? Where are we now? Where are we going?

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  • 1Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and The Simulation Center, Kaiser Permenente, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


It is now clear to most stakeholders that acquisition of surgical psychomotor skills is best achieved outside of the clinical operating room, in the context of a simulated environment. Endoscopic simulation can be accomplished using simple "box" simulators or video trainers, and virtual reality simulation is now possible using microprocessor-controlled systems. Structured surgical training performed outside of the operating room environment is relatively new to health care, a circumstance different from the process of pilot training, in which simulation has been a mainstay for more than 75 years and in which virtual reality simulation is now the norm. Those charged with surgical education are faced with a dilemma as, while attempting to understand the basic goals of simulation, they are simultaneously faced with choice between relatively inexpensive video trainers and the often prohibitively expensive virtual reality systems. This article explores the history of simulation, reports the results of a modified systematic review of currently available systems and performance, and identifies the gaps in current research and development. It is apparent that available video trainers provide the opportunity for skill development that at present is not surpassed by virtual reality systems. In the future, there will likely be an increasing role for virtual reality; however, challenges remain that include determination of the appropriate metrics and system design, and the fiscal resources necessary for the required hardware and related software development.

Copyright © 2012 AAGL. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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