Journal of Surgical Simulation 2015; 2: 35 - 39

Published: 01 July 2015


Original article

Influence of camera navigation training on team performance in virtual reality laparoscopy

T. Huber, M. Paschold, H. Lang and W. Kneist
Corresponding author: W. Kneist, Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, University Medicine of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Langenbeckstra├če 1, 55131 Mainz, Germany. Email:


Introduction: Virtual reality laparoscopic (VRL) simulation is a tool that can effectively reduce the learning curve of novices preparing to act as assistants in the operating room. This study was conducted to investigate whether a single session of VRL camera training for the camera assistant influences VRL team performance and team cooperation in novices.

Method: Medical students (n = 145) were randomized to camera-training (CTG) or no-training (NTG) groups. Participants were blinded to group assignment. CTG students performed a session of virtual camera training prior to a grasping and placing task. NTG students directly started the manual task on a VRL simulator. Participants were grouped into teams of operator and assistant for the manual task. The virtual surgical performance of the operator with a CTG versus an NTG camera assistant was evaluated.

Results: Higher rating of the other team partner, self-confidence when assisting with a basic laparoscopic procedure, and male gender were significantly correlated with better performance scores in CTG. No association with performance was obtained for NTG. The teams with a trained camera assistant showed a trend towards better performance.

Conclusion: This randomized study found that VRL camera navigation training had a positive, but not statistically significant, effect on the operator’s simulator performance in teams with a camera-trained assistant. Self-confident novices are able to assess their skill level more realistically.



Laparoscopic surgery; virtual reality; simulation; surgical education; camera assistant

Additional Information

The results of the study were presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, San Francisco, CA, October 2630, 2014.