Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 30, Issue 9, pp 3720–3729 | Cite as

Robotic surgery simulation validity and usability comparative analysis

  • Alyssa TanakaEmail author
  • Courtney Graddy
  • Khara Simpson
  • Manuela Perez
  • Mireille Truong
  • Roger Smith



The introduction of simulation into minimally invasive robotic surgery is relatively recent and has seen rapid advancement; therefore, a need exists to develop training curriculums and identify systems that will be most effective at training surgical skills. Several simulators have been introduced to support these aims—the daVinci skills simulator, Mimic dV-Trainer, Surgical Simulated Systems’ RoSS, and Simbionix Robotix Mentor. While multiple studies have been conducted to demonstrate the validity of these systems, studies comparing the perceived value of these devices as tools for education and skills are lacking.


Subjects who qualified as medical students or physicians (n = 105) were assigned a specific order to use each of the three simulators. After completing a demographic questionnaire, participants performed one exercise on the three simulators and completed a second questionnaire regarding their experience with the device. After using all systems, they completed a final questionnaire, which detailed their comparative preferences. The subject’s performance metrics were also collected from each simulator.


The data confirmed the face, content, and construct validity for the dV-trainer and skills simulator. Similar validities could not be confirmed for the RoSS. >80 % of the time, participants chose the skills simulator in terms of physical comfort, ergonomics, and overall choice. However, only 55 % thought the skills simulator was worth the cost of the equipment. The dV-Trainer had the highest cost preference scores with 71 % of respondents feeling it was worth the investment.


Usability can affect the consistency and commitment of users of robotic surgical simulators. In a previous study, these simulators were objectively reviewed and compared in terms of their system capabilities. Collectively, this work will offer end-users and potential buyers a comparison of the perceived value and preferences of robotic simulators.


Simulation Validation Robotic surgery Training Usability 



The authors wish to thank the representatives of each simulator company for their assistance in collecting images: da Vinci skills simulator photos ©2013 Intuitive Surgical, Inc., used with permission; dV-Trainer Simulator photos ©2013 Mimic Technologies, Inc., used with permission; RoSS Simulator photos ©2013 Simulated Surgical Systems, LLC., used with permission; and Robotix Mentor photos ©2014 Simbionix USA, Corp., used with permission. This work is funded by U.S. Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. Grant #: W81XWH-11-2-0158.

Compliance with ethical standards


Alyssa Tanaka, Courtney Graddy, Khara Simpson, Manuela Perez, Mireille Truong and Roger Smith have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alyssa Tanaka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Courtney Graddy
    • 2
  • Khara Simpson
    • 3
  • Manuela Perez
    • 4
  • Mireille Truong
    • 3
  • Roger Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida Hospital Nicholson CenterCelebrationUSA
  2. 2.Florida Hospital Celebration HealthCelebrationUSA
  3. 3.Columbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.University of Lorraine-NancyNancyUSA

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