Cannon WD, Eckhoff DG, Garrett WE Jr., Hunter RE, Sweeney HJ. Report of a group developing a virtual reality simulator for arthroscopic surgery of the knee joint. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Jan;442:21-9

PMID: 16394734


Apprenticeship training of surgical skills is time consuming and can lead to surgical errors. Our group is developing an arthroscopic virtual reality knee simulator for training orthopaedic residents in arthroscopic surgery before live-patient operating room experience. The simulator displays realistic human knee anatomy derived from the Visible Human Dataset developed by the National Library of Medicine and incorporates active force-feedback haptic technology. Our premise is that postgraduate year 2 residents completing a formal virtual education program who are trained to reach a proficiency standard in the techniques and protocol for an arthroscopic knee examination will complete a diagnostic arthroscopy on an actual patient in less time with greater accuracy, less iteration of movement of the arthroscope, and less damage to the patient's tissue compared with residents in the control group learning and practicing the arthroscopic knee examination procedures through the residency program's established education and training program. The validation study, done at eight orthopaedic residency programs, will commence in early 2006 and will take one year to complete. We anticipate that proficiency obtained on the simulator will transfer to surgical skills in the operating room.