Rolando Del Maestro – 2021 Research Grant Recipient

Generously funded by an anonymous research fund

Rolando Del MaestroRolando Del Maestro – Neurosurgical Simulation and Artificial Intelligence Learning Centre, McGill University
Montreal, QC

Project Title: “A Randomized Controlled Trial to Assess the Efficacy of Expert Benchmark Feedback Systems in Simulated Brain Tumour Resection Training”

Description of Project:

The learning of bimanual skills is very important in brain tumour surgery since errors can result in poor patient outcomes. Neurosurgical trainees develop these skills by watching expert surgeons do operations and as they acquire more experience, they are given more responsibility to perform complex operations. The limitations of this learning method are the low numbers of expert surgeons to teach these skills and patients may be at increased risks during this traditional approach to training students. Virtual reality neurosurgical simulators provide realistic simulated brain tumour operative procedures in environments in which there are no risks to patients and students can repeat procedures as many times as needed to acquire the necessary skills. One of the important questions involving these virtual reality systems is how best to provide information to students to improve their performance.

We propose to test the effect of four different training systems in improving student brain tumour operative skills to learn the best method of providing information to the student which would assist the student to safely learn the operation. 

These studies will allow us to determine this important information without presenting any risks to patient during student brain tumour training and hopefully improve patient outcomes.

What receiving this award means:

The removal of brain tumours, a skill expected of neurosurgical graduates remains among the most difficult and challenging procedures within medicine. We have developed virtual reality training systems in which trainees can learn the skills needed to carry out brain tumour operations safely in a lab environment. These systems allow learners unlimited opportunities to acquire and practice these essential skills with no risk to patients. Receiving this award from the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada will help us determine the best methods to teach safe brain tumour surgery and hopefully result in improved patient outcomes.