Background: Telementoring can be an adjunct to surgical training using virtual reality surgical simulation. Telementoring is hypothesized to be as effective as a local mentor for surgical skills training.
Methods: In this study, 20 Romanian medical students trained using a virtual reality surgical simulator (LapSim) with a telementor or local mentor. All the students watched an instructional module at the beginning of the exercise. The telementor, in the United States, interacted by videoconferencing. Before and after training sessions, tool path length and time for task completion were measured.
Results: Instructional media and training with mentoring resulted in similar levels of performance between locally mentored and telementored groups. Right- and left-hand path length and time decreased significantly within each group from the initial to the final evaluation (p < 0.05) for most tasks (grasping, cutting, suturing). No significant difference was achieved for clip-applying.
Conclusions: Integration of instructional media with telementoring can be as effective for the development of surgical skills as local mentoring.