A meta-analysis of the training effectiveness of virtual reality surgical simulators

Syed Haque, Shankar Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


The increasing use of virtual reality (VR) simulators in surgical training makes it imperative that definitive studies be performed to assess their training effectiveness. Indeed, in this paper we report the meta-analysis of the efficacy of virtual reality simulators in: 1) the transference of skills from the simulator training environment to the operating room, and 2) their ability to discriminate between the experience levels of their users. The task completion time and the error score were the two study outcomes collated and analyzed in this meta-analysis. Sixteen studies were identified from a computer-based literature search (1996-2004). The meta-analysis of the random effects model (because of the heterogeneity of the data) revealed that training on virtual reality simulators did lessen the time taken to complete a given surgical task as well as clearly differentiate between the experienced and the novice trainees. Meta-analytic studies such as the one reported here would be very helpful in the planning and setting up of surgical training programs and for the establishment of reference 'learning curves' for a specific simulator and surgical task. If any such programs already exist, they can then indicate the improvements to be made in the simulator used, such as providing for more variety in their case scenarios based on the state and/or rate of learning of the trainee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Meta-analysis
  • Surgical simulators
  • Training performance
  • Virtual reality (VR)


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