Percutaneous spinal fixation simulation with virtual reality and haptics

Cristian J. Luciano, P. Pat Banerjee*, Jeffery M. Sorenson, Kevin T. Foley, Sameer A. Ansari, Silvio Rizzi, Anand V. Germanwala, Leonard Kranzler, Prashant Chittiboina, Ben Z. Roitberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: In this study, we evaluated the use of a part-task simulator with 3-dimensional and haptic feedback as a training tool for percutaneous spinal needle placement. Objective: To evaluate the learning effectiveness in terms of entry point/target point accuracy of percutaneous spinal needle placement on a high-performance augmented-reality and haptic technology workstation with the ability to control the duration of computer-simulated fluoroscopic exposure, thereby simulating an actual situation. Methods: Sixty-three fellows and residents performed needle placement on the simulator. A virtual needle was percutaneously inserted into a virtual patient's thoracic spine derived from an actual patient computed tomography data set. Results: Ten of 126 needle placement attempts by 63 participants ended in failure for a failure rate of 7.93%. From all 126 needle insertions, the average error (15.69 vs 13.91), average fluoroscopy exposure (4.6 vs 3.92), and average individual performance score (32.39 vs 30.71) improved from the first to the second attempt. Performance accuracy yielded P = .04 from a 2-sample t test in which the rejected null hypothesis assumes no improvement in performance accuracy from the first to second attempt in the test session. Conclusion: The experiments showed evidence (P = .04) of performance accuracy improvement from the first to the second percutaneous needle placement attempt. This result, combined with previous learning retention and/or face validity results of using the simulator for open thoracic pedicle screw placement and ventriculostomy catheter placement, supports the efficacy of augmented reality and haptics simulation as a learning tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A89-A96
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Haptics
  • Neurosurgical simulation
  • Percutaneous spinal fixation
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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