BackgroundExisting self-training materials are insufficient to learn open surgical procedures, and a new self-training system that provides three-dimensional procedural information is needed. The effectiveness and usability of a self-training system providing three-dimensional information by augmented reality (AR) were compared to those of an existing self-training system, instructional video, in self-learning of suturing in open surgery. Materials and methodsThis was a prospective, evaluator-blinded, randomized, controlled study. Medical students who were suturing novices were randomized into 2 groups: practice with the AR training system (AR group) or an instructional video (video group). Participants were instructed in subcuticular interrupted suture and each training system and watched the instructional video once. They then completed a pretest performing the suture on a skin pad. Participants in each group practiced the procedure 10 times using each training system, followed by a posttest. The pretest and posttest were video-recorded and graded by blinded evaluators using a validated scoring form composed of global rating (GR) and task-specific (TS) subscales. Students completed a post-study questionnaire assessing system usability, each system's usefulness, and their confidence and interest in surgery. ResultsNineteen participants in each group completed the trial. No significant difference was found between the AR and video groups on the improvement of the scores from pretest to posttest (GR: p = 0.54, TS: p = 0.91). The posttest scores of both GR and TS improved significantly from pretest in both groups (GR: both p < 0.001, TS: both p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between the groups in the system usability scale scores (p = 0.38). The motion provided in the AR system was more helpful for manipulating surgical instruments than the video (p = 0.02). ConclusionThe AR system was considered as understandable and easy to use as the instructional video in learning suture technique in open surgery for novices.

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