Low vs. high fidelity: the importance of ‘realism’ in the simulation of a stone treatment procedure

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Simulation training for stone surgery is now increasingly used as part of training curricula worldwide. A combination of low and high fidelity simulators has been used with varying degrees of ‘realism’ provided by them. In this review, we discuss low and high fidelity simulators used for ureteroscopy (URS) and percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) stone procedures with their advantages, disadvantages and future direction for endourological simulation surgery. The final goal will be to understand whether or not ‘realism’ has to be considered as a critical element in simulation for this field.

Recent findings

There is a wide range of simulators available for URS and PCNL training ranging from basic bench-type model to advanced virtual reality and cadaveric models, all providing various levels of realism. Although basic models might be more useful to novices, advanced models allow for complex and more realistic simulation training.

Summary

With a wide variety of simulators now available and given the latest novelties in modular training curriculums, combination of low and high fidelity simulators that provide a realistic and cost-effective option seems to be the way forward. It is unavoidable that simulators will play an increasing role in endourological training.

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