BACKGROUND: The goal of our study was to determine expert and referent face validity of the LAP Mentor, the first procedural virtual reality (VR) laparoscopy trainer. METHODS: In The Netherlands 49 surgeons and surgical trainees were given a hands-on introduction to the Simbionix LAP Mentor training module. Subsequently, a standardized five-point Likert-scale questionnaire was administered. Respondents who had performed over 50 laparoscopic procedures were classified as "experts." The others constituted the "referent" group, representing nonexperts such as surgical trainees. RESULTS: Of the experts, 90.5% (n = 21) judge themselves to be average or above-average laparoscopic surgeons, while 88.5% of referents (n = 28) feel themselves to be less-than-average laparoscopic surgeons (p = 0.000). There is agreement between both groups on all items concerning the simulator's performance and application. Respondents feel strongly about the necessity for training on basic skills before operating on patients and unanimously agree on the importance of procedural training. A large number (87.8%) of respondents expect the LAP Mentor to enhance a trainee's laparoscopic capability, 83.7% expect a shorter laparoscopic learning curve, and 67.3% even predict reduced complication rates in laparoscopic cholecystectomies among novice surgeons. The preferred stage for implementing the VR training module is during the surgeon's residency, and 59.2% of respondents feel the surgical curriculum is incomplete without VR training. CONCLUSION: Both potential surgical trainees and trainers stress the need for VR training in the surgical curriculum. Both groups believe the LAP Mentor to be a realistic VR module, with a powerful potential for training and monitoring basic laparoscopic skills as well as full laparoscopic procedures. Simulator training is perceived to be both informative and entertaining, and enthusiasm among future trainers and trainees is to be expected. Further validation of the system is required to determine whether the performance results agree with these favorable expectations.
|Journal||Surgical endoscopy and other interventional techniques|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2007|