Virtual reality surgical simulation for arthroscopy training

AuthorRobert A. Pedowitz


There is little doubt that the medical profession stands at a major crossroads with regards to the fundamental structure of surgical education. Although the apprenticeship model has been used for centuries, we are rapidly moving toward a new era of proficiencybased education. This transition is motivated by several important factors, including greater emphasis upon patient safety, increased focus on educational efficacy, and a shift toward objectively measured performance outcomes (i.e., demonstration of clinical proficiency). At the same time, the paradigm shift is challenged by limitations imposed by trainee work hour restrictions and by the initial investments and ongoing expenses associated with implementation of new training paradigms.

None of these considerations change the fundamental prediction; it is no longer a question of if, but when. Surgical education is rapidly moving toward greater utilization of simulation technology. How can this transition be managed most efficiently by surgical leaders and key decision-makers? What is the role of virtual reality in the larger picture? This paper will review these important questions, with a specific focus upon current knowledge pertaining to virtual reality simulation in the field of arthroscopic surgery.