Child's Nervous System

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 43–54 | Cite as

The role of simulation in neurosurgery

  • Roberta Rehder
  • Muhammad Abd-El-Barr
  • Kristopher Hooten
  • Peter Weinstock
  • Joseph R. Madsen
  • Alan R. Cohen
Review Paper



In an era of residency duty-hour restrictions, there has been a recent effort to implement simulation-based training methods in neurosurgery teaching institutions. Several surgical simulators have been developed, ranging from physical models to sophisticated virtual reality systems. To date, there is a paucity of information describing the clinical benefits of existing simulators and the assessment strategies to help implement them into neurosurgical curricula. Here, we present a systematic review of the current models of simulation and discuss the state-of-the-art and future directions for simulation in neurosurgery.


Retrospective literature review.


Multiple simulators have been developed for neurosurgical training, including those for minimally invasive procedures, vascular, skull base, pediatric, tumor resection, functional neurosurgery, and spine surgery. The pros and cons of existing systems are reviewed.


Advances in imaging and computer technology have led to the development of different simulation models to complement traditional surgical training. Sophisticated virtual reality (VR) simulators with haptic feedback and impressive imaging technology have provided novel options for training in neurosurgery. Breakthrough training simulation using 3D printing technology holds promise for future simulation practice, proving high-fidelity patient-specific models to complement residency surgical learning.


Simulation Virtual reality 3D printing Residency Duty hours Neurosurgery 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta Rehder
    • 1
  • Muhammad Abd-El-Barr
    • 1
  • Kristopher Hooten
    • 2
  • Peter Weinstock
    • 3
  • Joseph R. Madsen
    • 1
  • Alan R. Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryBoston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesia, Pediatric Simulator Program DirectorBoston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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