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Keywords:

  • Laparoscopy;
  • surgical simulators;
  • training;
  • virtual-reality simulation

Please cite this paper as: Burden C, Oestergaard J, Larsen C. Integration of laparoscopic virtual-reality simulation into gynaecology training. BJOG 2011;118 (Suppl. 3): 5–10.

Surgery carries the risk of serious harm, as well as benefit, to patients. For healthcare organisations, theatre time is an expensive commodity and litigation costs for surgical specialities are very high. Advanced laparoscopic surgery, now widely used in gynaecology for improved outcomes and reduced length of stay, involves longer operation times and a higher rate of complications for surgeons in training.1,2 Virtual-reality (VR) simulation is a relatively new training method that has the potential to promote surgical skill development before advancing to surgery on patients themselves. VR simulators have now been on the market for more than 10 years and, yet, few countries in the world have fully integrated VR simulation training into their gynaecology surgical training programmes. In this review, we aim to summarise the VR simulators currently available together with evidence of their effectiveness in gynaecology, to understand their limitations and to discuss their incorporation into national training curricula.