Røtnes JS. Virtual Reality Surgical Training and the Development of Advanced Simulation. Paper presented at: Alternatives in the Mainstream: Innovations in Life Science Education and Training. 2nd InterNICHE Conference; 2005 May 12-15; Oslo, Norway


The possibility of using virtual reality simulators in surgical training holds the potential of reducing the need for animals and mechanical models in surgical training without compromising surgical outcome. Mechanical trainers are being used to train and evaluate laparoscopic surgical skills, but compared to virtual reality simulators the assembly of mechanical trainers is time consuming. After each session mechanical trainers have to be reassembled and prepared again for
the next student, and they do not allow automated measurements of surgical performance. Surgical simulators are now being offered to hospitals as agents to improve training and reduce the cost of education. Computer based simulators will increasingly be more suitable as training aids, especially due to their extensive assortment of educational features. SimSurgery has developed a hardware platform integrated with software solutions allowing real-time simulation of surgery for training and surgical planning - SimSurgery Education Platform (SEP™).

The simulator software that uses a standard PC offers a large range of skill training. The simulator displays both abstract and procedure-realistic scenes. Many basic skills can be learned in an abstract environment, whereas more advanced skills should be learned in procedure-realistic environments. The skill assessment is done by validated metrics that reflect the user’s competence level. The administration unit in SEP™ is easily combined with all kinds of additional educational material by embedding tools to access multimedia inside the software. The SEP™ includes modular software for easy update of new training modules. SEP™ provides two specific learning modes that allow a Program Director to create learning modules to best support the learner, and a third mode reserved for the administrator. This flexibility allows the director to objectively measure and assess an individual learner’s progress and helps to ensure each competency is met and mastered.