A Randomized, Controlled, Prospective Study Validating the Acquisition of Percutaneous Renal Collecting System Access Skills Using a Computer Based Hybrid Virtual Reality Surgical Simulator: Phase I
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PURPOSE: The need to develop new methods of surgical training combined with advances in computing has led to the development of sophisticated virtual reality surgical simulators. The PERC Mentortrade mark is designed to train the user in percutaneous renal collecting system access puncture. We evaluated and established face, content and construct validation of the simulator in this task. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 63 trainees underwent baseline testing on the simulator, consisting of percutaneous renal puncture followed by the introduction of a guidewire into the collecting system. Subjects were then randomized to an intervention arm, in which they underwent 2, 30-minute training sessions on the simulator, and a control arm, in which no further training was given, followed by repeat testing. Performance was assessed using a global rating scale and by virtual reality derived parameters. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the 2 groups with respect to baseline measures. Subjects who underwent training with the simulator demonstrated significant improvement in objective and subjective parameters compared to their baseline performance and compared to the untrained control group. Spearman rank correlations demonstrated a significant relationship between multiple parameters of the objective and subjective data. CONCLUSIONS: Training on the simulator improves virtual reality skills. It may allow trainees to develop the basic skills necessary to perform percutaneous renal collecting system access. Face and content validity were demonstrated and construct validity was supported by establishing convergent validity.
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