The Role of 3D Visualization in Laparoscopic Simulation Training

Shohan Shetty, MD, Sebastian Wilk, Vinay Bhamidipati, Inam Shaikh, MD, Alexander J Palesty, MD, FACS

St Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT

Introduction: Laparoscopic virtual reality (VR) simulators are becoming an essential tool in surgical training and assessment. These devices provide the operator with various levels of realism, including 3D (three-dimensional) visualization. However, this feature adds to the cost of the devices, and limited data exist assessing the value of 3D visualization in skill acquisition and development. Utilizing the LapSim VR simulator platform (Surgical Science, Goteborg, Sweden) we hypothesized that the incorporation of 3D visualization in laparoscopic simulation would allow superior trainee performance compared with performance of the same basic skills tasks in a non-3D model.

Method(s): Fourteen medical students and general surgery residents with minimal laparoscopic experience voluntarily participated in the study. Each participant performed four tasks, on the LapSim VR simulator platform. After achieving familiarity with the device and tasks, the participants completed the drills both with and without 3D visualization. Metrics include time, target misses, drift, path length, and tissue contact. The scores and repetitions in the 3D enhanced simulation were compared with the performance in the non-3D environment and analyzed utilizing Student’s t-test.

Results: We noted differences in repetitions required to complete the coordination module: 2.2 attempts for the non-3D group and 3.7 for the 3D group (P < 0.05). The average score for completing the tasks was higher for the non-3D group when compared to the 3D group (79% versus 73%, P < 0.05). However, we observed no statistical significance between the number of repetitions for the other tasks in the module. Overall, participants (80%) preferred the non-3D option when using the VR simulator.

Conclusion(s): 3D visualization in laparoscopic VR simulation did not demonstrate a performance improvement among our trainees. These data suggest that the additional expense of 3D visualization in laparoscopic simulators may not be justified for skill development.

Session: Poster Presentation

Program Number: P147

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