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Surg Endosc. 2008 Jul;22(7):1636-42. Epub 2007 Nov 20.

Transfer validity of laparoscopic knot-tying training on a VR simulator to a realistic environment: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Biomechanical Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical, Marine and Materials Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.



Laparoscopic suturing is one of the most difficult tasks in endoscopic surgery, requiring extensive training. The aim of this study was to determine the transfer validity of knot-tying training on a virtual-reality (VR) simulator to a realistic laparoscopic environment.


Twenty surgical trainees underwent basic eye-hand coordination training on a VR simulator (SIMENDO, DelltaTech, Delft, The Netherlands) until predefined performance criteria were met. Then, they were randomized into two groups. Group A (the experimental group) received additional training with the knot-tying module on the simulator, during which they had to tie a double laparoscopic knot ten times. Group B (controls) did not receive additional manual training. Within a week the participants tied a double knot in the abdominal cavity of an anaesthetized porcine model. Their performance was captured on digital video and coded. Objective analysis parameters were: time taken to tie the knot and number of predefined errors made. Subjective assessments were also made by two laparoscopic surgeons using a global rating list with a five-point Likert scale.


Trainees in group A (n = 9) were significantly faster than the controls (n = 10), with a median of 262 versus 374 seconds (p = 0.034). Group A made a significantly lower number of errors than the controls (median of 24 versus 36 errors, p = 0.030). Subjective assessments by the laparoscopic experts did not show any significant differences in economy of movement and erroneous behavior between the two groups.


Surgical trainees who received knot-tying training on the VR simulator were faster and made fewer errors than the controls. The VR module is a useful tool to train laparoscopic knot-tying. Opportunities arose to improve simulator-based instruction that might enhance future training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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