Background: To prevent unnecessary errors and adverse results of laparoscopic surgery, proper training is of paramount importance. A safe way to train surgeons for laparoscopic skills is simulation. For this purpose traditional box trainers are often used, however they lack objective assessment of performance. Virtual reality laparoscopic simulators assess performance, but lack realistic haptic feedback. Augmented reality (AR) combines a virtual reality (VR) setting with real physical materials, instruments, and feedback. This article presents the current developments in augmented reality laparoscopic simulation.
Methods: Pubmed searches were performed to identify articles regarding surgical simulation and augmented reality. Identified companies manufacturing an AR laparoscopic simulator received the same questionnaire referring to the features of the simulator.
Results: Seven simulators that fitted the definition of augmented reality were identified during the literature search. Five of the approached manufacturers returned a completed questionnaire, of which one simulator appeared to be VR and was therefore not applicable for this review.
Conclusion: Several augmented reality simulators have been developed over the past few years and they are improving rapidly. We recommend the development of AR laparoscopic simulators for component tasks of procedural training. AR simulators should be implemented in current laparoscopic training curricula, in particular for laparoscopic suturing training.