Implementation of laparoscopic virtual-reality simulation training in gynaecology: a mixed-methods design

Christy Burden, Tracy-Louise Appleyard, Jo Angouri, Timothy J Draycott, Leanne McDermott, Robert Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Virtual-reality (VR) training has been demonstrated to improve laparoscopic surgical skills in the operating theatre. The incorporation of laparoscopic VR simulation into surgical training in gynaecology remains a significant educational challenge. We undertook a pilot study to assess the feasibility of the implementation of a laparoscopic VR simulation programme into a single unit.

STUDY DESIGN: An observational study with qualitative analysis of semi-structured group interviews. Trainees in gynaecology (n=9) were scheduled to undertake a pre-validated structured training programme on a laparoscopic VR simulator (LapSim(®)) over six months. The main outcome measure was the trainees' progress through the training modules in six months. Trainees' perceptions of the feasibility and barriers to the implementation of laparoscopic VR training were assessed in focus groups after training.

RESULTS: Sixty-six percent of participants completed six of ten modules. Overall, feedback from the focus groups was positive; trainees felt training improved their dexterity, hand-eye co-ordination and confidence in theatre. Negative aspects included lack of haptic feedback, and facility for laparoscopic port placement training. Time restriction emerged as the main barrier to training.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite positive perceptions of training, no trainee completed more than two-thirds of the modules of a self-directed laparoscopic VR training programme. Suggested improvements to the integration of future laparoscopic VR training include an additional theoretical component with a fuller understanding of benefits of VR training, and scheduled supervision. Ultimately, the success of a laparoscopic VR simulation training programme might only be improved if it is a mandatory component of the curriculum, together with dedicated time for training. Future multi-centred implementation studies of validated laparoscopic VR curricula are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-9
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Gynecology
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy
  • User-Computer Interface


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