The role of virtual reality in surgical training in otorhinolaryngology

Marvin P. Fried, José I. Uribe, Babak Sadoughi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article reviews the rationale, current status and future directions for the development and implementation of virtual reality surgical simulators as training tools. RECENT FINDINGS: The complexity of modern surgical techniques, which utilize advanced technology, presents a dilemma for surgical training. Hands-on patient experience - the traditional apprenticeship method for teaching operations - may not apply because of the learning curve for skill acquisition and patient safety expectation. The paranasal sinuses and temporal bone have intricate anatomy with a significant amount of vital structures either within the surgical field or in close proximity. The current standard of surgical care in these areas involves the use of endoscopes, cameras and microscopes, requiring additional hand-eye coordination, an accurate command of fine motor skills, and a thorough knowledge of the anatomy under magnified vision. A surgeon's disorientation or loss of perspective can lead to complications, often catastrophic and occasionally lethal. These considerations define the ideal environment for surgical simulation; not surprisingly, significant research and validation of simulators in these areas have occurred. SUMMARY: Virtual reality simulators are demonstrating validity as training and skills assessment tools. Future prototypes will find application for routine use in teaching, surgical planning and the development of new instruments and computer-assisted devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-169
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Endoscopic sinus surgery
  • Simulation training
  • Surgical simulation
  • Temporal bone
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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