Training in flexible endoscopy is becoming increasingly complex. In an effort to improve the efficiency of endoscopic education, physicians are turning to simulation technology to provide a platform for training away from the endoscopy suite. The concept of medical simulation is not new, but the recent addition of powerful computer-generated virtual reality simulation has revolutionized the field. These compact computers are now able to generate a simulated environment that not only mimics the movement of the endoscope, but also recreates the sounds of the endoscopy suite, the feel of the movement of the scope, the reaction of intestinal tissue, and the response of a patient experiencing discomfort. Within this life-like simulated environment, a wide variety of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures can be performed. This article reviews the history of flexible endoscopy simulators and details the most advanced models currently available. The literature supporting the use of these simulators is also presented, and issues involving the incorporation of simulation technology into endoscopic education and credentialing are discussed.
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