Safe and successful surgical intervention requires careful planning and precise technical execution. The ideal surgical education and training environment would include repetition, reinforcement, review, and re-evaluation to speed the achievement of required performance levels, focus trainees on critical tasks, and promote the development of competent intraoperative decision making. In practice, students learn how to operate by practicing, under supervision, on real patients. This method subverts the desired objectives due to uncontrollable factors such as random patient availability and diverse disease presentation. An interactive virtual surgical training environment provides a promising alternative by potentially reducing medical error rates, improving the accuracy of intraoperative judgments, and increasing efficiency without the risk to living patients. Read full document