Consensus guidelines for validation of virtual reality surgical simulators

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Abstract

The Work Group for Evaluation and Implementation of Simulators and Skills Training Programmes is a newly formed subgroup of the European Association of Endoscopic Surgeons (EAES). This work group undertook a review of validation evidence for surgical simulators and the resulting consensus is presented in this article. Using clinical guidelines criteria, the evidence for validation for 6 different simulators was rated and subsequently translated to a level of recommendation for each system. The simulators could be divided into 2 basic types; systems for laparoscopic general surgery and flexible gastrointestinal endoscopy. Selection of simulators for inclusion in this consensus was based on their availability and relatively widespread usage as of July 2004. While level 2 recommendations were achieved for a few systems, it was clear that there was an overall lack of published validation studies with rigorous experimental methodology. Since the consensus meeting, there have been a number of new articles, system upgrades and new devices available. The work group intends to update these consensus guidelines on a regular basis, with the resulting article available on the EAES website (http://www.eaes-eur.org).

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