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The Effectiveness of Using a Virtual Spine Surgical Simulator

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In this study, the specific goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of utilizing a novel virtual reality software package with a haptic device to practice spine surgery. This spine surgery

In this study, the specific goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of utilizing a novel virtual reality software package with a haptic device to practice spine surgery. This spine surgery simulator was commissioned by Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) and is as yet untested. To test the simulator, an experiment was run in which resident neurosurgeons at Barrow Neurological Institute were asked to perform two “virtual surgeries” with the spine surgical simulator, provide observations on the simulator, and then complete a questionnaire evaluating different aspects of the simulator. The mean questionnaire score across all the neurosurgical residents was found to be 65.5 % ± 9.4 % of the maximum score which suggests that certain aspects of the virtual spine surgical simulator were deemed to be effective by the resident neurosurgeons but that improvements need to be made for the simulator to be fully ready as a teaching and planning tool. As of right now, the simulator is more suited as a training tool instead of a planning tool. Improvements that should be implemented include changing the hardware placement of the haptic device and the computer, minimizing aberrant tactile feedback, and adding anatomical and planning detail to the software to provide a more accurate reflection of spine surgery. It was also suggested that future experiments that evaluate an improved simulator should ensure that participants are trained adequately and have enough time to complete surgical operations to get a fair assessment of the tool.

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  • 2015-05