DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.578 ISSN:

1156 The Effectiveness of Augmented Reality for Medical Students’ Surgical Training: A Systematic Review

A Shah, A Kaka, N Kumar, A Patel, A Yunus, A Patel
  • Surgery



Interest in augmented reality (AR) technologies within an educational setting have surged in recent years. Few studies evaluate the use of AR in a primarily medical student population. This systematic review with meta-analysis intended to evaluate the existing literature on this topic.


This review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Using relevant synonyms for the terms “augmented reality”, “surgery” and “medical students”, the databases Medline, Embase, and Scopus were searched. Data was extracted for outcome measures such as time for task completion, errors/fails, attempts/retries, motion sickness/nausea and focus shifts.


826 records were initially retrieved; 19 studies were included in our review, with a total of 485 participants. The AR group performed better than the comparator group in 84% of the statistically significant main outcomes. The AR groups were less likely to fail assessment, with a pooled odds ratio of 1.76 (95% CI:0.06-51.71, p = 0.74, I2 = 81%). One study reported 57% fewer critical errors than the comparator group. Only two studies reported nausea/motion sickness as an outcome (12% (n = 3) and mean Likert-scale score of 3 (of 10) in the AR groups).


AR can be an effective surgical teaching and training tool for medical students. However, the limitations of AR have not been explored extensively by primary studies, so gradual integration of AR is proposed until further studies elucidating benefits and risks can be undertaken.

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