University of Oulu

Timonen T, Iso-Mustajärvi M, Linder P, Vrzakova H, Sinkkonen ST, Luukkainen V, Laitakari J, Elomaa A-P and Dietz A (2022) The feasibility of virtual reality for anatomic training during temporal bone dissection course. Front. Virtual Real. 3:957230. doi: 10.3389/frvir.2022.957230

The feasibility of virtual reality for anatomic training during temporal bone dissection course

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Author: Timonen, Tomi1,2; Iso-Mustajärvi, Matti1,3; Linder, Pia1;
Organizations: 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
2University of Eastern Finland, School of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Kuopio, Finland
3Microsurgery Training Center, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
4School of Computing, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
5Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6Tauno Palva Laboratory, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
7Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu University, PEDEGO, Oulu, Finland
8Department of Neurosurgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-07-07


Introduction: In recent decades, the lack of educational resources for cadaveric dissections has complicated the hands-on otological surgical training of otorhinolaryngology residents due to the poor availability of cadaver temporal bones, facilities, and limited hours for practice. Since students must gain adequate and patient-safe surgical skills, novel training methods need to be considered. In this proof-of-concept study, a new virtual reality (VR) software is described; this was used during a national temporal bone dissection course where we investigated its feasibility for otological surgical training.

Methods: A total of 11 otorhinolaryngology residents attended the annual 2-day hands-on temporal bone dissection course; they were divided into two groups with similar experience levels. Both groups received a lecture on temporal bone anatomy. A total of 22 cadaver temporal bones were harvested for the course; 11 of these bones were imaged by computed tomography. VR software designed for preoperative planning was then used to create 3D models of the imaged temporal bones. Prior to dissection training, the first group underwent a 30-min VR session, where they identified 24 surgically relevant anatomical landmarks on their individual temporal bone. The second group proceeded directly to dissection training. On the second day, the groups were switched. The feasibility of VR training was assessed with three different metrics: surgical performance evaluation using a modified Hopkins objective structured assessment of technical skill (OSATS), time for the surgical exposure of anatomical landmarks, and the user experience collected with a Likert scale questionnaire.

Results: No differences were noted in the overall performance between the groups. However, participants with prior VR training had a lower mean time for surgical exposure of anatomical landmarks (antrum 22.09 vs. 27.64 min, p = 0.33; incus 60.00 vs. 76.00, p = 0.03; PSCC 71.83 vs. 88.50, p = 0.17) during dissection training. The participants considered VR beneficial for anatomy teaching, surgery planning, and training.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated the feasibility of implementing VR training in a temporal bone dissection course. The VR training demonstrated that even short expert-guided VR sessions are beneficial, and VR training prior to the dissections has a positive effect on the time needed to perform surgical tasks while maintaining comparable performance scores.

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Series: Frontiers in virtual reality
ISSN: 2673-4192
ISSN-E: 2673-4192
ISSN-L: 2673-4192
Volume: 3
Article number: 957230
DOI: 10.3389/frvir.2022.957230
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Funding: The study was funded by the Academy of Finland (AD Grant No. 333525), State Research Funding of the Kuopio University Hospital (TT Grant No. 5551865, AD Grant No. 5551853), The Finnish ORL-HNS Foundation (TT Grant No. 20210002 and No. 20220027), North Savo Regional Fund (TT Grant No. 65202121, AD Grant No. 65202054), Finnish Cultural Foundation (TT Grant No. 00211098), and The Finnish Society of Ear Surgery.
Copyright information: © 2022 Timonen, Iso-Mustajärvi, Linder, Vrzakova, Sinkkonen, Luukkainen, Laitakari, Elomaa and Dietz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.