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Virtually Competent: A Comparative Analysis of Virtual Reality and Dry-Lab Robotic Simulation Training

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nicholas Raison, Andrea Gavazzi, Takashige Abe, Kamran Ahmed, Prokar Dasgupta

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-384
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endourology
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

King's Authors


Background: Virtual reality (VR) and dry-lab simulation have been widely validated for robotic surgical training. Both modalities are used during the early stages of the learning curve, yet, no comparative analysis of the two modalities has been undertaken. This study compares the effectiveness of VR and dry-lab simulation for basic robotic surgical skill training. Methods: A comparative study of 43 robotic novices was undertaken at two centers in the United Kingdom and Italy. Participants were allocated to either VR or dry-lab simulation and completed a robotic simulation training program. On completion, all participants were assessed by performing a urethrovesical anastomosis on a synthetic model. Technical proficiency was measured by two trained raters using the Global Evaluative Assessment of Robotic Skills (GEARS) tool. All participants completed a qualitative posttraining assessment questionnaire. Results: Baseline characteristics were equal between the two groups. Both VR and dry-lab training led to a significant improvement in technical proficiency. Overall mean GEARS scores increased by 5.6 and 2.5 following dry-lab and VR simulation training, respectively (p = 0.034). Dry-lab training showed significantly greater improvements than VR simulation, but only after the third training session. Both techniques were highly rated by participants. Conclusions: Both VR and dry-lab simulation were effective in improving robotic surgical skill but were not equal. For more advanced skill training, dry-lab training was found to be superior to VR simulation. Dry-lab training offers specific benefits to robotic surgical training and should remain a principal component of the simulation curriculum.

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