Uruthiralingam U, Rea PM. Augmented and Virtual Reality in Anatomical Education - A Systematic Review. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020;1235:89-101. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-37639-0_5.

PMID: 32488637


Learning anatomy traditionally has depended on traditional techniques like human cadaveric dissection and the use of textbooks. As technology advances at an ever-rapid speed, there are revolutionary ways to learn anatomy. A number of technologies, techniques and methodologies are utilised in anatomical education, but ones specifically receiving a lot of interest and traction is that of augmented reality and virtual reality. Although there has been a surge in interest in the use of these technologies, the literature is sparse in terms of its evaluation as to the effectiveness of such tools. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine in greater detail the literature specifically to see what the best practice in this field could be. By undertaking a systematic review using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, we searched for articles in both Web of Science and PubMed. Using the terms "augmented reality and teaching anatomy" yielded 88 articles. We then used "virtual reality and teaching anatomy" which resulted in 200 articles. We examined these articles, including that on augmented reality and virtual reality used to teach anatomy to undergraduate and postgraduate students, residents, dentistry, nursing and veterinary students. Articles were excluded if they were systematic reviews, literature reviews, review articles, news articles, articles not written in English and any literature that presented how a virtual model was created without the evidence of students testing it. The inclusion and exclusion criteria for virtual reality were the same as augmented reality. In addition, we examined the articles to identify if they contained data which was quantitative, qualitative or both. The articles were further separated into those which were pro, neutral or against for the use of these digital technologies. Of the 288 articles, duplicate articles totalling 67 were removed and 134 articles were excluded according to our exclusion criteria. Of the 31 articles related to augmented reality, 30 were pro, one neutral and no articles against the use of this technology. Fifty-six articles related to virtual reality were categorised resulted in 45 pro, eight neutral and three against the use of this technology. Overall, the results indicate most articles identified related to both virtual and augmented reality were for the use of those technologies, than neutral or against. This systemic review highlights the recent advances of both augmented reality and virtual reality to implementing the technology into the anatomy course.