Teaching robotic surgery: a stepwise approach
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After an initial institutional experience with 50 robot-assisted laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedures, a curriculum was developed for fellowship training in robotic surgery.
Thirty consecutive robotic gastric bypasses were performed using the Zeus robotic surgical system to fashion a two-layer gastrojejunostomy. For teaching purposes, performance of the anastomosis was divided into three discrete tasks. Robotic suturing tasks were assigned to the trainee in cumulative order in ten-case increments. Our patient population averaged 44 years of age and 47 kg/m2 in BMI. Patients were predominantly female (87%).
The robotic training experience of the fellow defines the increases in surgical responsibility over the series of cases. Statistical analysis revealed no significant differences in task times or total robotic operative time as participation of the trainee in performing the gastrojejunostomy increased. No adverse robotic events or surgical complications occurred throughout this series. The learning curve of the fellow compared favorably with the initial experience of the institution.
Robotic surgery training may be safely implemented in a minimally invasive surgery training program. A gradual introduction of robotic technique appears to maximize the learning experience and minimize the potential for adverse outcomes.
KeywordsGastric bypass Robotic surgery Education Obesity Bariatric