Virtual reality simulation of neuroendovascular intervention improves procedure speed in a cohort of trainees

Joseph Dardick, Stephanie Allen, Aleka Scoco, Richard L. Zampolin, David J. Altschul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Realistic virtual reality (VR) simulators have greatly expanded the tools available for training surgeons and interventionalists. While this technology is effective in improving performance in many fields, it has never been evaluated for neuroendovascular procedures. This study aims to determine whether VR is an effective tool for improving neuroendovascular skill among trainees. Methods: Trainees performed two VR revascularizations of a right-sided middle cerebral artery (MCA) thrombosis and their times to procedural benchmarks (time to enter internal carotid artery [ICA], traverse clot, and complete procedure) were compared. To determine whether the improvement was case specific, trainees with less procedural exposure were timed during VR left-sided ICA (LICA) aneurysm coiling before or after performing MCA thrombectomy simulations. To determine the value of observing simulations, medical students were timed during the right MCA revascularization simulations after watching other VR procedures. Results: Trainees significantly improved their time to every procedural benchmark during their second MCA revascularization (mean decrease = 1.08, 1.57, and 2.24 min; P = 0.0072, 0.0466, and 0.0230). In addition, time required to access the LICA during aneurysm coiling was shortened by 0.77 min for each previous VR right MCA revascularization performed (P = 0.0176; r2 = 0.71). Finally, medical students’ MCA revascularization simulation times improved by 0.87 min for each prior simulation viewed (P < 0.0221; r2 = 0.96). Conclusion: Both performance and viewing of simulated procedures produced significant decreases in time to reach neuroendovascular procedural benchmarks. These data show that VR simulation is a valuable tool for improving trainee skill in neuroendovascular procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number184
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - 2019


  • Aneurysm
  • Endovascular
  • Neuroendovascular
  • Simulation
  • Thrombectomy
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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