Innovative Educational Pathways in Spine Surgery: Advanced Virtual Reality–Based Training

Andrea Luca, Riccardo Giorgino, Loreto Gesualdo, Giuseppe M. Peretti, Anas Belkhou, giuseppe banfi, Giovanni Grasso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Over the past few years, a reorganization of the educational pathways has been promoted with the purpose of optimizing the acquisition of competences and their assessment, so as to reduce the risks to both health care professionals and end users. Virtual reality (VR) has been repeatedly tested, initially as a positive reinforcement for more traditional educational pathways and, more recently, as their potential substitute. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the potentiality of VR simulation training in spine surgery. Methods: The VR simulator reproduced the lateral lumbar access to the spine. The simulation included a tutorial, the preoperative settings, and the surgical session with different levels of procedural complexity. A total of 10 users were recruited for this study: 3 senior surgeons (group A) and 7 orthopedic residents or junior orthopedic surgeons (group B). Each user completed the simulation twice. Results: The user's age or previous experience with VR technology did not show any relevance. On average, the entire simulation was completed in 24′36'. Group B showed an improvement between the 2 attempts in both sessions, the preoperative settings and the surgical simulation. The number of major errors dropped from an average of 5.2 to 1.8 and from an average of 4 (maximum 6−minimum 1) to 1.4, respectively. The simulation was never interrupted because of technical bugs or adverse effects related to the technology. Conclusions: VR-based training pathways might promote a high standard of care. Our preliminary experience suggests an effective implementation of the traditional coaching process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-680
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Education
  • Spine surgery
  • Training
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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