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A prospective study of the effect of video games on robotic surgery skills using the high-fidelity virtual reality RobotiX simulator

Authors Hvolbek AP, Nilsson PM, Sanguedolce F, Lund L

Received 23 December 2018

Accepted for publication 15 June 2019

Published 14 August 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 627—634


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Azim Majumder

Andreas Pierre Hvolbek,1 Philip Mørkeberg Nilsson,2 Francesco Sanguedolce,3 Lars Lund1,3,4

1Department of Urology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark; 2Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen and the Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark; 3Department of Urology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark; 4Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Background: Robot-assisted surgery is a growing field. Prior video game experience might give advantage to novice robotic surgeons.
Aim: Assessing if prior video gaming experience gives advantage in performing high-fidelity virtual reality (VR)-simulated robotic surgery.
Methods: In this observational study, 30 medical students and 2 interns (17 females; 15 males) with median age 25 years (range, 24–26 years) were recruited and subsequently divided into groups according to prior gaming experience; gamers (≥6 video game hours/week) vs nongamers (<6 video game hours/week). Participants performed VR-simulated urethrovesical anastomosis on RobotiX Mentor, which measured performance parameters. Participants answered a questionnaire for demographics and gaming experience. Groups were compared using Mann–Whitney U and multiple regression.
Results: Gamers significantly outperformed nongamers in 3 of 24 performance metrics (p<0.05), and there was a trend toward better results for 7 of the 21 remaining metrics. Males outperformed females in 5 of 24 metrics (p<0.05) but were overrepresented among gamers.
Conclusion: Prior video game experience >6 hrs/week might give advantage in simulated robotic surgery. We recommend future studies testing this hypothesis to develop simulator programs for certification of robotic surgeons.

Keywords: robot-assisted surgery, procedure specific, virtual reality, computer simulation, video game

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