Virtual coach: the next tool in functional endoscopic sinus surgery education.

TitleVirtual coach: the next tool in functional endoscopic sinus surgery education.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRichards JP, Done AJ, Barber SR, Jain S, Son Y-J, Chang EH
JournalInt Forum Allergy Rhinol
Date Published2020 01
KeywordsAdult, Clinical Competence, Female, Humans, Male, Natural Orifice Endoscopic Surgery, Paranasal Sinuses, Reproducibility of Results, Simulation Training, Virtual Reality

BACKGOUND: Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) can be challenging as novices become accustomed to handling endoscopes and instruments while navigating complex sinonasal anatomy. Experts demonstrate fluid and efficient motions when addressing pathology. The training process from novice to expert relies on hands-on experience in cadaveric laboratories and preceptorship models that require significant time and expense. This study aims to validate the use of a virtual coach to guide users step-by-step through a basic FESS.

METHODS: Seventeen surgeons were grouped into novice (n = 10) and expert (n = 7) based on self-reported levels of surgical experience. Users were trained using the maxillary antrostomy module in the Neurorhinological Surgery (NRS) simulator combining the physical craniofacial model with virtual reality (VR)-tracked surgical instruments in the VR operating room. The virtual coach guided the user using surgical videos, auditory, and visual cues. The coach recorded data for each subject including the number of times borders of the nasal cavity were encountered and time to completion. Users graded the usefulness of the virtual coach on a Likert questionnaire.

RESULTS: Face validity of our NRS simulator was replicated by user questionnaires, and construct validity replicated by differentiation between novice and expert level surgeons (p < 0.01). Novices contacted a significantly higher number of anatomic borders (n = 17) and had a longer operative time (t = 370 seconds). All users reported high scores on the benefit and usefulness of the virtual coach.

CONCLUSION: The virtual coach provides a useful tool to enhance FESS education by providing objective real-time data in a novel mixed-reality surgical environment.

Alternate JournalInt Forum Allergy Rhinol
PubMed ID31834672
Faculty Reference: 
Eugene H. Chang, MD