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Head-to-Head Comparison of Three Virtual-Reality Robotic Surgery Simulators

Alexandria M. Hertz, MD, Evalyn I. George, BS, Christine M. Vaccaro, DO, Timothy C. Brand, MD

ABSTRACT

Background and Objectives:
There are several different commercially available virtual-reality robotic simulators, but very little comparative data. We compared the face and content validity of 3 robotic surgery simulators and their pricing and availability.

Methods:
Fifteen participants completed one task on each of the following: dV-Trainer (dVT; Mimic Technolo- gies, Inc., Seattle, Washington, USA), da Vinci Skills Sim- ulator (dVSS; Intuitive Surgical Inc., Sunnyvale, California, USA), and RobotiX Mentor (RM; 3D Systems, Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA). Participants completed previously validated face and content validity questionnaires and a demographics questionnaire. Statistical analysis was then performed on the scores.

Results:
Participants had a mean age of 29.6 (range, 25–41) years. Most were surgical trainees, having per formed a mean of 8.6 robotic primary surgeries. For face validity, ANOVA showed a significant difference favoring the dVSS over the dVT (P = .001), and no significant difference between the RM, dVSS, and dVT. Content validity revealed similar results, with a significant difference between the dVSS and dVT (P = .021), a trend toward a difference between the RM and dVT (P = .092), and no difference between the dVSS and RM (P = .99).

Conclusion:
All simulators demonstrated evidence of face and content validity, with significantly higher scores for the dVSS; it is also the least costly ($80,000 for the simulator), although it is frequently unavailable because of intraoperative use. The dVT and RM have similar face and content validity, are slightly more expensive, and are readily available.

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