Virtual Ear Surgery

A new PhD project examines the learning effect of the pioneering simulator Visible Ear Simulator (VES).


Foto: Lasse Bruun Jonassen

Virtual simulation training of surgical technical skills is evidence based and an effective learning tool. Basic temporal bone surgical skills have traditionally been taught as dissection on cadaveric temporal bones.

Several virtual temporal bone surgical simulators have during recent years been developed: The Visible Ear Simulator is a freeware simulator based on fresh-frozen cryo-sections of a human temporal bone and features haptic force-feedback, 3D stereo graphics and integrated tutor and feedback functions developed by Mads Sølvsten Sørensen, MD, DMSc at Rigshospitalet in collaboration with the Computer Graphics Lab at the Alexandra Institute in Aarhus.
 3D-model of the temporal bone. Foto: Lasse Bruun Jonassen

"Devel​opment and validation of evidence based software for integrated self-directed learning and assessment in temporal bone surgery. Improving the Visible Ear Simulator by scientific iteration." is the title of the Ph.D.-project of Steven Andersen, MD.

The aim of the research project is to develop, validate and improve the Visible Ear Simulator and in iterative steps to implement into the simulator best evidence as it is established. Simulator metrics and technical skills assessment are explored and developed in order to move from basic simulator metrics to structured objective performance assessment and timely feedback thereby improving the integrated tutor to provide trainees opportunity for deliberate and repeat self-directed learning.

The project plays a key role in the future of virtual temporal bone surgical simulation training; virtual training could soon replace or supplement traditional dissection training in the acquirement of basic competency for the trainee and could also prove valuable for the expert in simulation of middle ear pathology and surgical device insertion improving patient outcome.

The Visible Ear Simulator development and research team is collaborating with several international institutions and is committed to providing a temporal bone surgical simulator with great educational and technical value.

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