A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Annals of Medicine and Surgery details the benefits of applying HapticVR technology to surgical training. In the study, haptic feedback technology was used alongside non-haptic immersive VR training to assess the impact of the former.
The results showed that with the use of HapticVR technology, trainees were able to improve their learning curves. Consequently, this yielded better outcomes.
How HapticVR Technology Helps Improve Surgical Training
The goal of the study was to assess the educational impact of integrated haptic feedback in an immersive VR bone drilling simulation. The study involved 31 junior trainees and surgeons, with 15 participants in the haptics group and 16 in the non-haptics group.
FundamentalVR, a company focused on developing VR education platforms, provided the participants with training modules. These modules either came with or without haptic feedback hand controllers.
The study highlighted several key findings, including:
- 46% of the trainees in the haptic feedback group showed outcomes that suggested a plateau phase that went beyond their initial learning curve, compared to only 6% from the non-haptic group;
- Virtual reality with haptic feedback produces better outcomes with a 44% reduction in plunge depth of the drill bit beyond target tissues;
- The haptics group showed improved performance and higher Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill (OSATS) ratings;
- Haptic feedback in VR simulator enabled students to perform safer drills with reduced risk of injury.
The study highlights how HapticVR technology, when applied to surgical training, can help improve the execution of surgical tasks and their respective outcomes, compared to training without haptic feedback employed.
This is because haptic feedback helps surgeons have a sense of touch. And thus, they’re able to determine when to stop drilling to avoid damage to soft tissue or vasculature. Through haptic feedback and its delivery of force-feedback touch, surgeons can feel that there is a sudden release of resistance when the drill bit breaches the bone. As a result, this prevents damage to the surrounding areas.
Immersive Simulations as Valuable Teaching Aids
More than enabling trainees to have a sense of touch during simulations, HapticVR technology, along with the features in the Fundamental Surgery platform, provides them with an environment where they can freely examine patient cases, study anatomy, and practice surgical procedures.
Through the Fundamental Surgery platform, educators and students can learn and practice their skills remotely. According to FundamentalVR, it’s the only VR education platform that’s fully accredited by the AAOS and the Royal College of Surgeons.
FundamentalVR is working toward bringing high-quality, low-cost immersive simulations to educational institutions. Through the use of such technologies, students and other users can have a dedicated and safe space to practice their skills, which, in turn, translates to better outcomes for their patients.