Development of a structured virtual reality curriculum for laparoscopic appendicectomy

Background

Laparoscopic appendicectomy (LA) is a common surgical emergency procedure mainly performed by trainees. The aim was to develop a step-wise structured virtual reality (VR) curriculum for LA to allow junior surgeons to hone their skills in a safe and controlled environment.

Methods

A prospective randomized study was designed using a high-fidelity VR simulator. Thirty-five novices and 25 experts participated in the assessment and their performances were compared to assess construct validity. Learning curve analysis was performed.

Results

Five of the psychomotor tasks and all appendicectomy tasks showed construct validity. Learning was demonstrated in the majority of construct-valid tasks. A novel goal-directed VR curriculum for LA was constructed.

Conclusions

A step-wise structured VR curriculum for LA is proposed with a framework which includes computer generated metrics and supports deliberate practice, spacing intervals, human instruction/feedback and assessment. Future study should test the feasibility of its implementation and transferability of acquired skill.