Objectives: The aims of this study were to develop virtual reality simulation software for video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) lobectomy, to explore the opinions of thoracic surgeons concerning the VATS lobectomy simulator and to test the validity of the simulator metrics.
Methods: Experienced VATS surgeons worked with computer specialists to develop a VATS lobectomy software for a virtual reality simulator. Thoracic surgeons with different degrees of experience in VATS were enrolled at the 22nd meeting of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) held in Copenhagen in June 2014. The surgeons were divided according to the number of performed VATS lobectomies: novices (0 VATS lobectomies), intermediates (1-49 VATS lobectomies) and experienced (>50 VATS lobectomies). The participants all performed a lobectomy of a right upper lobe on the simulator and answered a questionnaire regarding content validity. Metrics were compared between the three groups.
Conclusions: This is the first study to describe a commercially available virtual reality simulator for a VATS lobectomy. More than 100 thoracic surgeons found the simulator realistic, and hence it showed good content validity. However, none of the built-in simulator metrics could significantly distinguish between novice, intermediate experienced and experienced surgeons, and further development of the simulator software is necessary to develop valid metrics.
Keywords: Lung cancer; Simulator training; Video-assisted thoracic surgery lobectomy; Virtual reality simulation.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. All rights reserved.