Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2008 Mar;22(3):664-7.
doi: 10.1007/s00464-007-9456-9.

Virtual Reality Training for Endoscopic Surgery: Voluntary or Obligatory?

Free PMC article

Virtual Reality Training for Endoscopic Surgery: Voluntary or Obligatory?

K W van Dongen et al. Surg Endosc. .
Free PMC article


Introduction: Virtual reality (VR) simulators have been developed to train basic endoscopic surgical skills outside of the operating room. An important issue is how to create optimal conditions for integration of these types of simulators into the surgical training curriculum. The willingness of surgical residents to train these skills on a voluntary basis was surveyed.

Methods: Twenty-one surgical residents were given unrestricted access to a VR simulator for a period of four months. After this period, a competitive element was introduced to enhance individual training time spent on the simulator. The overall end-scores for individual residents were announced periodically to the full surgical department, and the winner was awarded a prize.

Results: In the first four months of study, only two of the 21 residents (10%) trained on the simulator, for a total time span of 163 minutes. After introducing the competitive element the number of trainees increased to seven residents (33%). The amount of training time spent on the simulator increased to 738 minutes.

Conclusions: Free unlimited access to a VR simulator for training basic endoscopic skills, without any form of obligation or assessment, did not motivate surgical residents to use the simulator. Introducing a competitive element for enhancing training time had only a marginal effect. The acquisition of expensive devices to train basic psychomotor skills for endoscopic surgery is probably only effective when it is an integrated and mandatory part of the surgical curriculum.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Results of questionnaire

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 22 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. European Community. Directive 2000/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 2000 amending Council Directive 93/104/EC concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time to cover sectors and activities excluded from that Directive. Official Journal of the European Communities, No. L 195, 1 August 2000, pp 41–45
    1. {'text': '', 'index': 1, 'ids': [{'type': 'DOI', 'value': '10.1007/s00464-005-0384-2', 'is_inner': False, 'url': ''}, {'type': 'PubMed', 'value': '16252077', 'is_inner': True, 'url': ''}]}
    2. Carter FJ, Schijven MP, Aggarwal R, Grantcharov T, Francis NK, Hanna GB, Jakimowicz JJ (2005) Consensus guidelines for validation of virtual reality surgical simulators. Surg Endosc 19:1523–1532 - PubMed
    1. Chang L, Petros J, Hess DT, Rotondi C, Babineau TJ (16-12-2006) Integrating simulation into a surgical residency program: Is voluntary participation effective? Surg Endosc (in press) - PubMed
    1. {'text': '', 'index': 1, 'ids': [{'type': 'DOI', 'value': '10.1007/s00464-004-2154-y', 'is_inner': False, 'url': ''}, {'type': 'PubMed', 'value': '16132335', 'is_inner': True, 'url': ''}]}
    2. Eriksen JR, Grantcharov T (2005) Objective assessment of laparoscopic skills using a virtual reality stimulator. Surg Endosc 19:1216–1219 - PubMed
    1. {'text': '', 'index': 1, 'ids': [{'type': 'PubMed', 'value': '9826140', 'is_inner': True, 'url': ''}]}
    2. Gallagher AG, McClure N, McGuigan J, Ritchie K, Sheehy NP (1998) An ergonomic analysis of the fulcrum effect in the acquisition of endoscopic skills. Endoscopy 30:617–620 - PubMed