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#VR: The Literature Review

As a medical student, I was allowed the opportunity to review the literature on the use of virtual reality (VR) in medical education.

In all a total of 70 peer-reviewed journal articles were included in the review, with participants ranging from naïve medical students to experienced specialists. Of particular interest was an article by Seymour et al. (2002), which was one of the principal studies showing that the use of VR training could translate into improved operating room performance. In this study, surgical residents were randomized to either VR training or no VR training. The VR trained group trained until expert criterion levels were achieved. Both groups then performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, where two blinded independent surgeons reviewed and rated the procedure. The results showed that the VR trained group were more likely to make steady progress throughout the procedure, with fewer errors and a lesser likelihood of injuring the gallbladder and burning non-target tissue. The benefits of VR training, however, extend beyond the surgical discipline. The majority of the studies in the literature review supported the use of VR in medical education, noting that it could prove beneficial in the enhancement of medical knowledge, skills training, and clinical practices across many disciplines.

We are now working on finalising the review findings.


  1. Seymour NE, Gallagher AG, Roman SA, O’Brien MK, Bansal VK, Andersen DK, et al. Virtual reality training improves operating room performance: results of a randomized, double-blinded study. Ann Surg [Internet]. 2002 [cited 2017 Jan 17];236(4):458-464.

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