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Effects of anatomical variation on trainee performance in a virtual reality temporal bone surgery simulator

  • P Piromchai (a1) (a2), I Ioannou (a1), S Wijewickrema (a1), P Kasemsiri (a2), J Lodge (a3), G Kennedy (a3) and S O'Leary (a1)...
Abstract Objective:

To investigate the importance of anatomical variation in acquiring skills in virtual reality cochlear implant surgery.


Eleven otolaryngology residents participated in this study. They were randomly allocated to practice cochlear implant surgery on the same specimen or on different specimens for four weeks. They were then tested on two new specimens, one standard and one challenging. Videos of their performance were de-identified and reviewed independently, by two blinded consultant otolaryngologists, using a validated assessment scale. The scores were compared between groups.


On the standard specimen, the round window preparation score was 2.7 ± 0.4 for the experimental group and 1.7 ± 0.6 for the control group (p = 0.01). On the challenging specimen, instrument handling and facial nerve preservation scores of the experimental group were 3.0 ± 0.4 and 3.5 ± 0.7 respectively, while the control group received scores of 2.1 ± 0.8 and 2.4 ± 0.9 respectively (p < 0.05).


Training on temporal bones with differing anatomies is beneficial in the development of expertise.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Patorn Piromchai, Department of Surgery (Otolaryngology), University of Melbourne, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia E-mail:
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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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