Importance of Stereoscopy in Novice Temporal Bone Surgical Training
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Knowledge of anatomical relationships forms the basis of any surgical procedure, and yet can be a difficult skill for both novice and advanced practitioners to master. Training through virtual models (VMs) is becoming increasingly prevalent in medical education, particularly for surgical residency programs. These VMs incorporate advanced technology to help simulate real-world procedures, and utilize 3D graphics that have already shown promising learning advantages over their 2D counterparts. Stereoscopy is an imaging technique used to simulate the third dimension that can be integrated into 3D anatomical simulations. Whether or not its inclusion enhances skill acquisition in a surgical setting is the topic of this research. This study sought to assess the potential benefit of stereoscopy in training medical students (as surgical novices) in a well-defined procedure (canal wall up cortical mastoidectomy). Students were randomly divided into either the control (mono vision), or experimental (stereo vision) group, prior to being shown a training video explaining how to perform the operation. Following this, both groups practiced the surgery on a VM in their respective study categories, with the stereoscopic cohort experiencing a simulated third dimension. Lastly, all participants went on to perform the mastoidectomy on a rapidprototyped printed bone model (PBM) replica of the VM. Drilled PBM specimens were collected and graded by three Otologic surgeons, and the scores from both groups were compared to look for a significant difference in performance.