A collaboration between researchers from Denmark and Canada has demonstrated that surgeons novice in laparoscopy can meaningfully improve their technique with a bit of digital interactive training. In the British Medical Journal the researchers show how a virtual laparoscopic simulator was used to almost double the speed of surgeons.
Here are the summary findings from the study abstract:
Main outcome measure The main outcome measure was technical performance assessed by two independent observers blinded to trainee and training status using a previously validated general and task specific rating scale. The secondary outcome measure was operation time in minutes.
Results The simulator trained group (n=11) reached a median total score of 33 points (interquartile range 32-36 points), equivalent to the experience gained after 20-50 laparoscopic procedures, whereas the control group (n=10) reached a median total score of 23 (22-27) points, equivalent to the experience gained from fewer than five procedures (P<0.001). The median total operation time in the simulator trained group was 12 minutes (interquartile range 10-14 minutes) and in the control group was 24 (20-29) minutes (P<0.001). The observers' inter-rater agreement was 0.79. Conclusion Skills in laparoscopic surgery can be increased in a clinically relevant manner using proficiency based virtual reality simulator training. The performance level of novices was increased to that of intermediately experienced laparoscopists and operation time was halved. Simulator training should be considered before trainees carry out laparoscopic procedures.
Video from BMJ with a more comprehensive demonstration of the training and interviews with the principals:
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Abstract in BMJ: Effect of virtual reality training on laparoscopic surgery: randomised controlled trial