The learning curves of a validated virtual reality hip arthroscopy simulator

Jonathan D Bartlett, John E Lawrence, Matthew Yan, Borna Guevel, Max E Stewart, Emmanuel Audenaert, Vikas Khanduja
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 2020 January 27

INTRODUCTION: Decreases in trainees' working hours, coupled with evidence of worse outcomes when hip arthroscopies are performed by inexperienced surgeons, mandate an additional means of training. Though virtual reality simulation has been adopted by other surgical specialities, its slow uptake in arthroscopic training is due to a lack of evidence as to its benefits. These benefits can be demonstrated through learning curves associated with simulator training-with practice reflecting increases in validated performance metrics.

METHODS: Twenty-five medical students with no previous experience of hip arthroscopy completed seven weekly simulated arthroscopies of a healthy virtual hip joint using a 70° arthroscope in the supine position. Twelve targets were visualised within the central compartment, six via the anterior portal, three via the anterolateral portal and three via the posterolateral portal. Task duration, number of collisions (bone and soft-tissue), and distance travelled by arthroscope were measured by the simulator for every session of each student.

RESULTS: Learning curves were demonstrated by the students, with improvements in time taken, number of collisions (bone and soft-tissue), collision length and efficiency of movement (all p < 0.01). Improvements in time taken, efficiency of movement and number of collisions with soft-tissue were first seen in session 3 and improvements in all other parameters were seen in session 4. No differences were found after session 5 for time taken and length of soft-tissue collision. No differences in number of collisions (bone and soft-tissue), length of collisions with bone, and efficiency of movement were found after session 6.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrate learning curves for a hip arthroscopy simulator, with significant improvements seen after three sessions. All performance metrics were found to improved, demonstrating sufficient visuo-haptic consistency within the virtual environment, enabling individuals to develop basic arthroscopic skills.


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