A review of virtual reality simulators for neuroendoscopy

Britty Baby, Ramandeep Singh, Ashish Suri, Rohan Raju Dhanakshirur, Argha Chakraborty, Subodh Kumar, Prem Kumar Kalra, Subhashis Banerjee

Neurosurgical Review


Neurosurgery is a challenging surgical specialty that demands many technical and cognitive skills. The traditional surgical training approach of having a trainee coached in the operating room by the faculty is time-consuming, costly, and involves patient risk factors. Simulation-based training methods are suitable to impart the surgical skills outside the operating room. Virtual simulators allow high-fidelity repeatable environment for surgical training. Neuroendoscopy, a minimally invasive neurosurgical technique, demands additional skills for limited maneuverability and eye-hand coordination. This study provides a review of the existing virtual reality simulators for training neuroendoscopic skills. Based on the screening, the virtual training methods developed for neuroendoscopy surgical skills were classified into endoscopic third ventriculostomy and endonasal transsphenoidal surgery trainers. The study revealed that a variety of virtual reality simulators have been developed by various institutions. Although virtual reality simulators are effective for procedure-based skills training, the simulators need to include anatomical variations and variety of cases for improved fidelity. The review reveals that there should be multi-centric prospective and retrospective cohort studies to establish concurrent and predictive validation for their incorporation in the surgical educational curriculum.