Does virtual reality simulation have a role in training trauma and orthopaedic surgeons?
AIMS: The aim of this study was to assess the current evidence relating to the benefits of virtual reality (VR) simulation in orthopaedic surgical training, and to identify areas of future research. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search using the MEDLINE, Embase, and Google Scholar databases was performed. The results' titles, abstracts, and references were examined for relevance. RESULTS: A total of 31 articles published between 2004 and 2016 and relating to the objective validity and efficacy of specific virtual reality orthopaedic surgical simulators were identified. We found 18 studies demonstrating the construct validity of 16 different orthopaedic virtual reality simulators by comparing expert and novice performance. Eight studies have demonstrated skill acquisition on a simulator by showing improvements in performance with repeated use. A further five studies have demonstrated measurable improvements in operating theatre performance following a period of virtual reality simulator training. CONCLUSION: The demonstration of 'real-world' benefits from the use of VR simulation in knee and shoulder arthroscopy is promising. However, evidence supporting its utility in other forms of orthopaedic surgery is lacking. Further studies of validity and utility should be combined with robust analyses of the cost efficiency of validated simulators to justify the financial investment required for their use in orthopaedic training. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2018;100-B:559-65.