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December 1996

Virtual Reality Surgical Simulation and Otolaryngology

Author Affiliations

From the Bobby R. Alford Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex (Drs Kuppersmith and Jenkins and Mr Johnston); Virtual Environment Technology Laboratory, University of Houston (Dr Kuppersmith and Mr Johnston); and Advanced Biomedical Technologies, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Washington, DC (Dr Jones).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122(12):1297-1298. doi:10.1001/archotol.1996.01890240007002

Large-scale flight simulation was pioneered in the 1940s to help meet the training requirements and demand for pilots in World War II. Flight simulators have been effective for training, evaluating, and certifying military and commercial pilots. Accurate scenarios have been developed that allow pilots in training to gain experience without the risk and expense of learning while in flight. The research in aviation simulation suggests a transfer effectiveness ratio of 0.48.1 This means that 1 hour in the simulator saves a half hour in the air. Because of the successful use of flight simulation as a training technique, computer-based simulators are now used in a variety of domains.

Surgeons, by comparison, have traditionally been trained through didactic sessions, study of text material, and graduated operative experience on real patients under faculty supervision. Ancillary training techniques, such as the use of animal laboratories and cadaver dissection, have been declining in

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