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This prospective study looked at 15 otorhinolaryngology residents in Belgium to see if using the VOXEL-MAN Tempo surgical simulator system improved their understanding of temporal bone radiological anatomy. As a secondary aim, they also assessed whether there was any improvement in the trainees’ surgical ability by assessing their performance with cadaveric dissection after using the simulator system. Trainees were assessed on their temporal bone radiological anatomy both before and after five sessions on the simulator, and then also performed cadaveric dissection within a week of the end of the sessions, which was then assessed by a blinded senior otologist. There was a significant improvement in scores on the radiological anatomy assessment after the VR sessions (p=0.0011) but, interestingly, not in cadaveric dissection performance after the VR sessions. During the five VR sessions, there was a statistically significant improvement in ‘task fulfilment’ and ‘global results’, but in ‘instrument handling’ and ‘efficiency’, the variables significantly decreased. The study concludes that a high-fidelity VR simulator such as the VOXEL-MAN Tempo can help trainees with their understanding of temporal bone anatomy, but may not necessarily improve their surgical skills, thus may be useful for more junior trainees.

Virtual reality surgical simulation as a tuition aid for understanding surgical temporal bone anatomy: trial on 15 ear, nose, and throat registrars.
Rogister F, Salmon C, Ghuysen A, et al.
B-ENT
2020;16:103-8.
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Sunil Sharma

Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK.

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