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Surg Endosc. 2013 Jun;27(6):2169-77. doi: 10.1007/s00464-012-2735-0. Epub 2013 Jan 26.

Cold-start capability in virtual-reality laparoscopic camera navigation: a base for tailored training in undergraduates.

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Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, University Medicine of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Langenbeckstrasse 1, 55131, Mainz, Germany.



Frequently medical students have to fulfill the role as the camera operator in laparoscopic procedures. Published work concerning camera navigation skills, especially in medical students, is rare. Therefore, our purpose was to evaluate personal characteristics and abilities that may affect virtual-reality laparoscopic camera navigation (VR-LCN) performance in a large cohort of first-time virtual-reality laparoscopy users.


First-time virtual-reality laparoscopy users (n = 488) were enrolled prospectively. The tasks included VR-LCN using a 0° and 30° angled laparoscope separately. Scores were correlated with demographics and students' self-assessment in univariate and multivariate analyses.


Six variables were associated with better VR-LCN results in the univariate analysis. On multivariate analysis, only male gender (odds ratio 2.3, 95 % confidence interval 1.4-3.9; p = 0.002) and higher self-confidence to assist in a laparoscopic operation (odds ratio 1.7, 95 % confidence interval 1.1-2.6; p = 0.014) were identified as predictive factors for a better 30° angled VR-LCN performance.


Our study indicates that medical students' self-confidence regarding their ability to navigate a camera in a laparoscopic procedure and male gender predict a better first-time VR-LCN performance. These findings may provide a basis for a tailored educational approach.

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