This article presents a hardware/software simulation environment suitable for anytime/anywhere surgical skills training. It blends the advantages of physical hardware and task analogs with the flexibility of virtual environments. This is further enhanced by a web-based implementation of training feedback accessible to both trainees and trainers. Our training system provides a self-paced and interactive means to attain proficiency in basic tasks that could potentially be applied across a spectrum of trainees from first responder field medical personnel to physicians. This results in a powerful training tool for surgical skills acquisition relevant to helping injured warfighters.
Glenoid reaming is a technically challenging step during shoulder arthroplasty that could possibly be learned during simulation training. Creation of a realistic simulation using vibration feedback in this context is innovative. Our study focused on the development and internal validation of a novel glenoid reaming simulator for potential use as a training tool.
Vibration and force profiles associated with glenoid reaming were quantified during a cadaveric experiment. Subsequently, a simulator was fabricated utilizing a haptic vibration transducer with high- and low-fidelity amplifiers; system calibration was performed matching vibration peak–peak values for both amplifiers. Eight experts performed simulated reaming trials. The experts were asked to identify isolated layer profiles produced by the simulator. Additionally, experts’ efficiency to successfully perform a simulated glenoid ream based solely on vibration feedback was recorded.
Cadaveric experimental cartilage reaming produced lower vibrations compared to subchondral and cancellous bones ( p≤0.03). Gain calibration of a lower-fidelity (3.5 gpk−pk,0.36grms) and higher-fidelity (3.4 gpk−pk,0.33grms) amplifier resulted in values similar to the cadaveric experimental benchmark (3.5 gpk−pk,0.30grms). When identifying random tissue layer samples, experts were correct 52±9% of the time and success rate varied with tissue type ( p=0.003). During simulated reaming, the experts stopped at the targeted subchondral bone with a success rate of 78±24%. The fidelity of the simulation did not have an effect on accuracy, applied force, or reaming time ( p>0.05). However, the applied force tended to increase with trial number ( p=0.047).
Development of the glenoid reaming simulator, coupled with expert evaluation furthered our understanding of the role of haptic vibration feedback during glenoid reaming. This study was the first to (1) propose, develop and examine simulated glenoid reaming, and (2) explore the use of haptic vibration feedback in the realm of shoulder arthroplasty.
The cervical screw placement is one of the most difficult procedures in spine surgery, which often needs a long period of repeated practices and could cause screw placement-related complications. We performed this cadaver study to investigate the effectiveness of virtual surgical training system (VSTS) on cervical pedicle screw instrumentation for residents.
Materials and methods
A total of ten novice residents were randomly assigned to two groups: the simulation training (ST) group (n = 5) and control group (n = 5). The ST group received a surgical training of cervical pedicle screw placement on VSTS and the control group was given an introductory teaching session before cadaver test. Ten fresh adult spine specimens including 6 males and 4 females were collected, and were randomly allocated to the two groups. The bilateral C3–C6 pedicle screw instrumentation was performed in the specimens of the two groups, respectively. After instrumentation, screw positions of the two groups were evaluated by image examinations.
There was significantly statistical difference in screw penetration rates between the ST (10%) and control group (62.5%, P < 0.05). The acceptable rates of screws were 100 and 50% in the ST and control groups with significant difference between each other (P < 0.05). In addition, the average screw penetration distance in the ST group (1.12 ± 0.47 mm) was significantly lower than the control group (2.08 ± 0.39 mm, P < 0.05).
This study demonstrated that the VSTS as an advanced training tool exhibited promising effects on improving performance of novice residents in cervical pedicle screw placement compared with the traditional teaching methods.