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Virtual Reality and Physical Models in Undergraduate Orthopaedic Education: A Modified Randomised Crossover Trial

Authors Wilson G, Zargaran A, Kokotkin I, Bhaskar J, Zargaran D, Trompeter A

Received 3 March 2020

Accepted for publication 21 July 2020

Published 11 August 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 97—104


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Clark Hung

Glen Wilson,1 Alexander Zargaran,2 Ilya Kokotkin,1 Jared Bhaskar,3 David Zargaran,3 Alex Trompeter4

1Department of Medicine, St George’s, University of London, London, UK; 2Department of Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK; 3Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK; 4Department of Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery, St George’s Hospital, London, UK

Correspondence: Alexander Zargaran
King’s College London, Guy’s Campus, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 1UL, UK
Tel +44 2071887188

Background: Orthopaedic surgery is underrepresented in the United Kingdom medical school curriculum, with an average of less than 3 weeks of exposure over the five-year degree. This study evaluates the effectiveness of high-fidelity virtual reality (VR) and physical model simulation in teaching undergraduate orthopaedic concepts.
Methods: A modified randomised crossover trial was used. Forty-nine students were randomly allocated to two groups, with thirty-three finishing the six-week follow-up assessment. All undergraduate medical students were eligible for inclusion. Both groups were given introductory lectures, before completing a pre-test with questions on the principles of fracture fixation and osteotomy. Each group then received a lecture on these topics with the same content, but one was delivered with VR and the other with physical models. Both groups completed the post-course assessments. Knowledge was assessed by way of questionnaire immediately before, immediately after, and six-weeks after.
Results: In the VR group, participants improved their post-training score by 192.1% (U=32; p< 0.00001). In the physical models group, participants improved their post-training scores by 163.1% (U=8.5; p< 0.00001). Overall, there was no statistically significant difference in the total means of post-training test scores between the VR and the physical models study groups (U=260.5; p=0.4354).
Conclusion: Both VR and physical models represent valuable educational adjuncts for the undergraduate medical curriculum. Both have demonstrated improvements in immediate and long-term knowledge retention of key orthopaedic concepts.

Keywords: orthopaedic surgery, simulation, undergraduate, surgical training, virtual reality, learning curve

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