The efficacy of virtual reality as a learning tool in orthopaedic surgery: a systematic review

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


Aim: The aim of this study is to systematically review the relevant literature and provide evidence in support of the efficacy of virtual reality (VR) as a learning tool in Orthopaedic surgery to cover the years between 2015-2020 where a gap was detected (March 2020).

Methods: The review concentrated on studies analysing the use of a VR simulator to enhance learning of surgical skills and, therefore, surgical performance of orthopaedic surgeons for the years 2015-2020. Cochrane Library was researched in March 2020 to investigate if reviews on the same topic existed covering the specific time range. Results were obtained through online researching databases such as CINAHL, HMIC, EMBASE, MedLine, EMCARE, PubMed, BNI and AMED.

Results: Thirteen studies were analysed with three hundred and ninety-nine participants. Twenty-five outcomes were measured and validated assessment tools were also used (ASSET, OSATS, IGARS); time completion was the most frequently measured while patient safety ranked very low. For the vast majority of studies, baseline performance was established by means of a pre- and post-intervention assessment while for a number of outcomes statistically significant differences were detected. Most studies, ten out of thirteen, concluded that VR is an efficient tool for orthopaedic surgical training.

Conclusion: Analysis of the thirteen studies for this review has shown that VR can be an efficient learning tool in Orthopaedic surgery. The results indicate that surgeons improve technical skills and surgical performance when trained on a VR simulator. However, the issues of skill transferability to the operating room, effectiveness in comparison with traditional methods of learning, patient safety and level of preparedness of surgeons to face complex cases and cost-effectiveness still require further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Science
Awarding Institution
  • Anglia Ruskin University
Award date2 Jul 2021
Publication statusUnpublished - 2 Jul 2021


  • virtual reality
  • VR
  • orthopaedic surgery


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