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Simulation training approaches in intracranial aneurysm surgery-a systematic review.

BACKGROUND: With the increasing complexity and decreasing exposure to intracranial aneurysm surgery, training and maintenance of the surgical skills have become challenging. This review elaborated on simulation training for intracranial aneurysm clipping.

METHODS: A systematic review was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines to identify studies on aneurysm clipping training using models and simulators. The primary outcome was the identification of the predominant modes of the simulation process, models, and training methods associated with a microsurgical learning curve. The secondary outcomes included assessments of the validation of such simulators and the learning capability from the use of such simulators.

RESULTS: Of the 2068 articles screened, 26 studies met the inclusion criteria. The chosen reports used a wide range of simulation approaches including ex vivo methods (n = 6); virtual reality (VR) platforms (n = 11); and static (n = 6) and dynamic (n = 3) 3D-printed aneurysm models (n = 6). The ex vivo training methods have limited availability, VR simulators lack haptics and tactility, while 3D static models lack important microanatomical components and the simulation of blood flow. 3D dynamic models including pulsatile flow are reusable and cost-effective but miss microanatomical components.

CONCLUSIONS: The existing training methods are heterogenous and do not realistically simulate the complete microsurgical workflow. The current simulations lack certain anatomical features and crucial surgical steps. Future research should focus on developing and validating a reusable, cost-effective training platform. No systematic validation method exists for the different training models, so there is a need to build homogenous assessment tools and validate the role of simulation in education and patient safety.

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