Randomized Clinical Trial of Virtual Reality Simulation Training for Transvaginal Gynecologic Ultrasound Skills

J Ultrasound Med. 2015 Sep;34(9):1663-7. doi: 10.7863/ultra.15.14.09063. Epub 2015 Aug 17.


Objectives: To compare the impact of virtual reality simulation training and theoretical teaching on the ability of inexperienced trainees to produce adequate virtual transvaginal ultrasound images.

Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial with parallel groups. Participants included inexperienced residents starting a training program in Paris. The intervention consisted of 40 minutes of virtual reality simulation training using a haptic transvaginal simulator versus 40 minutes of conventional teaching including a conference with slides and videos and answers to the students' questions. The outcome was a 19-point image quality score calculated from a set of 4 images (sagittal and coronal views of the uterus and left and right ovaries) produced by trainees immediately after the intervention, using the same simulator on which a new virtual patient had been uploaded. Experts assessed the outcome on stored images, presented in a random order, 2 months after the trial was completed. They were blinded to group assignment. The hypothesis was an improved outcome in the intervention group. Randomization was 1 to 1.

Results: The mean score was significantly greater in the simulation group (n = 16; mean score, 12; SEM, 0.8) than the control group (n = 18; mean score, 9; SEM, 1.0; P= .0302).

Conclusions: The quality of virtual vaginal images produced by inexperienced trainees was greater immediately after a single virtual reality simulation training session than after a single theoretical teaching session.

Keywords: gynecologic ultrasound; randomized controlled trial; stimulation; training; transvaginal ultrasound; virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • France
  • Gynecology / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Radiology / education
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Simulation Training / methods
  • Simulation Training / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ultrasonography*
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Young Adult