Validation of a Novel Cognitive Simulator for Orbital Floor Reconstruction

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2017 Apr;75(4):775-785. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2016.11.027. Epub 2016 Dec 11.


Purpose: The increasing focus on patient safety in current medical practice has promoted the development of surgical simulation technology in the form of virtual reality (VR) training designed largely to improve technical skills and less so for nontechnical aspects of surgery such as decision making and material knowledge. The present study investigated the validity of a novel cognitive VR simulator called Touch Surgery for a core maxillofacial surgical procedure: orbital floor reconstruction (OFR).

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 2 groups of participants with different experience levels. Novice graduate dental students and expert surgeons were recruited from a local dental school and academic residency programs, respectively. All participants completed the OFR module on Touch Surgery. The primary outcome variable was simulator performance score. Post-module questionnaires rating specific aspects of the simulation experience were completed by the 2 groups and served as the secondary outcome variables. The age and gender of participants were considered additional predictor variables. From these data, conclusions were made regarding 3 types of validity (face, content, and construct) for the Touch Surgery simulator. Dependent-samples t tests were used to explore the consistency in simulation performance scores across phases 1 and 2 by experience level. Two multivariate ordinary least-squares regression models were fit to estimate the relation between experience and phase 1 and 2 scores.

Results: Thirty-nine novices and 10 experts who were naïve to Touch Surgery were recruited for the study. Experts outperformed novices on phases 1 and 2 of the OFR module (P < .001), which provided the measurement of construct validation. Responses to the questionnaire items used to assess face validity were favorable from the 2 groups. Positive questionnaire responses also were recorded from experts alone on items assessing the content validity for the module. Participant age and gender were not relevant predictors of performance scores.

Conclusion: Construct, content, and face validities were observed for the OFR module on a novel cognitive simulator, Touch Surgery. Therefore, OFR simulation on the smart device platform could serve as a useful cognitive training and assessment tool in maxillofacial surgery residency programs.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cognition
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Dental, Graduate / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbital Fractures / surgery*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / education*
  • Simulation Training / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires