The added value of virtual reality technology and force feedback for surgical training simulators

L. Zhang, C. Grosdemouge, V. S. Arikatla, W. Ahn, G. Sankaranarayanan, S. De, D. Jones, S. Schwaitzberg, C. G.L. Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laparoscopic surgery requires more specialized training of the surgeons than traditional open surgery. The Virtual Basic Laparoscopic Surgical Trainer (VBLaST) is being developed as a virtual version of the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Skills (FLS) trainer. This study assessed the current haptic and virtual reality (VR) technology of a virtual peg transfer task of the VBLaST, based on the subjective preference of surgeons and their objective task performance measures. Twenty-one surgical residents, fellows and attendings performed a peg-transfer task in the FLS and the VBLaST. Each subject performed 10 trials on each simulator. Results showed that subjects performed significantly better on the FLS than on the VBLaST. Subjects showed a significant learning effect on both simulators, but with an accelerated improvement on the VBLaST. Even so, 81% of the subjects preferred the FLS over the VBLaST for surgical training which could be attributed to the novelty of the VR technology and existing deficiencies of the haptic interface. Despite the subjective preference for the physical simulator, the performance results indicate an added value of VR and haptics in surgical training, which is expected to be demonstrated in more surgically relevant tasks such as suturing and knot-tying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2288-2292
Number of pages5
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • force feedback
  • fundamentals of laparoscopic skills (FLS)
  • surgical training
  • virtual basic laparoscopic surgical trainer (VBLaST)
  • virtual reality (VR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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