Comparison of video trainer and virtual reality training systems on acquisition of laparoscopic skills

Surg Endosc. 2002 Mar;16(3):406-11. doi: 10.1007/s00464-001-8149-z. Epub 2001 Dec 10.


Training on a video trainer or computer-based minimally invasive surgery trainer leads to improved benchtop laparoscopic skill. Recently, improved operative performance from practice on a video trainer was reported. The purpose of this study was three fold: (a) to compare psychomotor skill improvement after training on a virtual reality (VR) system with that after training on a video-trainer, (VT) (b) to evaluate whether skills learned on the one training system are transferable to the other, and (c) to evaluate whether VR or VT training improves operative performance. For the study, 50 junior surgery residents completed baseline skill testing on both the VR and VT systems. These subjects then were randomized to either a VR or VT structured training group. After practice, the subjects were tested again on their VR and VT skills. To assess the effect of practice on operative performance, all second-year residents (n = 19) were evaluated on their operative performance during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy before and after skill training. Data are expressed as percentage of improvement in mean score/time. Analysis was performed by Student's paired t-test. The VR training group showed improvement of 54% on the VR posttest, as compared with 55% improvement by the VT group. The VR training group improved more on the VT posttest tasks (36%) than the VT training group improved on the VR posttest tasks (17%) (p <0.05). Operative performance improved only in the VR training group (p <0.05). Psychomotor skills improve after training on both VR and VT, and skills may be transferable. Furthermore, training on a minimally invasive surgery trainer, virtual reality system may improve operative performance during laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Functional Laterality*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Internship and Residency
  • Laparoscopes*
  • Man-Machine Systems*
  • Suture Techniques*
  • Swine
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • User-Computer Interface