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James M. Wright, Alankrita Raghavan, Christina H. Wright, Berje Shammassian, Yifei Duan, Martha Sajatovic, and Warren R. Selman


Informed consent, when performed appropriately, serves many roles beyond simply obtaining the prerequisite medicolegal paperwork to perform a surgery. Prior studies have suggested that patient understanding is poor when verbal communication is the sole means of education. Virtual reality platforms have proven effective in enhancing medical education. No studies exist that have demonstrated the utility of virtual reality–facilitated informed consent (VR-IC) in improving the physician-patient alliance. The aim of this study was to determine the utility of VR-IC among patients providing consent for surgery and the impact of this educational and information technology–based strategy on enhancing the physician-patient alliance, patient satisfaction, and resident-physician perception of the consent process.


Prospective, single-site, pre- and postconsent surveys were administered to assess patient and resident perception of informed consent performed with the aid of VR-IC at a large tertiary academic medical center in the US. Participants were adult patients (n = 50) undergoing elective surgery for tumor resection and neurosurgical residents (n = 19) who obtained patient informed consent for these surgical procedures. Outcome measures included scores on the Patient-Doctor Relationship Questionnaire (PDRQ-9), the modified Satisfaction with Simulation Experience Scale, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Patient pre- and postconsent data were recorded in real time using a secure online research data platform (REDCap).


A total of 48 patients and 2 family members provided consent using VR-IC and completed the surveys pre- and postconsent; 47.9% of patients were women. The mean patient age was 57.5 years. There was a statistically significant improvement from pre- to post–VR-IC consent in patient satisfaction scores. Measures of patient-physician alliance, trust, and understanding of their illness all increased. Among the 19 trainees, perceived comfort and preparedness with the informed consent process significantly improved.


VR-IC led to improved patient satisfaction, patient-physician alliance, and patient understanding of their illness as measured by the PDRQ-9. Using VR-IC contributed to residents’ increased comfort in the consent-gathering process and handling patient questions. In an era in which satisfaction scores are directly linked with hospital and service-line outcomes and reimbursement, positive results from VR-IC may augment physician and hospital satisfaction scores in addition to increasing measures of trust between physicians and patients.

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Berje Shammassian, Sunil Manjila, Efrem Cox, Kaine Onwuzulike, Dehua Wang, Mark Rodgers, Duncan Stearns, and Warren R. Selman

Intracranial ectopic salivary gland rests within dural-based lesions are reported very infrequently in the literature. The authors report the unique case of a 12-year-old boy with a cerebellar medulloblastoma positive for sonic hedgehog (Shh) that contained intraaxial mature ectopic salivary gland rests. The patient underwent clinical and radiological monitoring postoperatively, until he died of disseminated disease. An autopsy showed no evidence of salivary glands within disseminated lesions. The intraaxial presence of salivary gland rests and concomitant Shh positivity of the described tumor point to a disorder in differentiation as opposed to ectopic developmental foci, which are uniformly dural based in the described literature. The authors demonstrate the characteristic “papilionaceous” appearance of the salivary glands with mucicarmine stain and highlight the role of Shh signaling in explaining the intraaxial presence of seromucous gland analogs. This article reports the first intraaxial posterior fossa tumor with heterotopic salivary gland rests, and it provides molecular and embryopathological insights into the development of these lesions.