Feasibility, effectiveness and transferability of a novel mastery-based virtual reality robotic training platform for general surgery residents

Imad Radi, Juan C. Tellez, Rodrigo E. Alterio, Daniel J. Scott, Ganesh Sankaranarayanan, Madhuri B. Nagaraj, Melissa E. Hogg, Herbert J. Zeh, Patricio M. Polanco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The annual number of robotic surgical procedures is on the rise. Robotic surgery requires unique skills compared to other surgical approaches. Simulation allows basic robot skill acquisition and enhances patient safety. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, effectiveness, and transferability of a mastery-based curriculum using a new virtual reality (VR) robotic simulator for surgery resident training. Methods: Nineteen PGY2s and 22 PGY4s were enrolled. Residents completed a pretest and posttest consisting of five VR and three previously validated inanimate tasks. Training included practicing 33 VR tasks until a total score ≥ 90% (“mastery”) was achieved using automated metrics (time, economy of motion). Inanimate performance was evaluated by two trained, blinded raters using video review metrics (time, errors, and modified OSATS). Outcomes were defined as: curriculum feasibility (completion rate, training time, repetitions), training effectiveness (pre/post training skill improvement), and skill transferability (skill transfer to validated inanimate drills). Wilcoxon signed-rank and Mann–Whitney U tests were used; median (IQR) reported. Results: Thirty-four of 41 residents (83%) achieved mastery on all 33 VR tasks; median training time was 7 h (IQR: 5′26″–8′52″). Pretest vs. post-test performance improved (all p < 0.001) according to all VR and Inanimate metrics for both PGY2 and PGY4 residents. Significant pretest performance differences were observed between PGY2 and PGY4 residents for VR but not inanimate tasks; no PGY2 vs. PGY4 posttest performance differences were observed for both VR and inanimate tasks. Conclusion: This mastery-based VR curriculum was associated with a high completion rate and excellent feasibility. Significant performance improvements were noted for both the VR and inanimate tasks, supporting training effectiveness and skill transferability. Additional studies examining validity evidence may help further refine this curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSurgical endoscopy
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Curriculum
  • Residents
  • SimNow
  • Simulation
  • Training
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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