Robotic skills can be aided by laparoscopic training
General Surgery is currently the fastest growing specialty with regards to robotic surgical system utilization. Contrary to the experience in laparoscopy, simulator training for robotic surgery is not widely employed partly because robotic surgical simulators are expensive. We sought to determine the effect of a robotic simulation curriculum and whether robotic surgical skills could be derived from those psychomotor skills attained in laparoscopic training.
Twenty-seven trainees with no prior robotic experience and limited laparoscopy exposure were randomly assigned to one of three training groups: no simulator training, training on a fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS™) standard box trainer, and training on a robotic computer based simulator (da Vinci Skills Simulator™). Baseline robotic surgical skills were assessed on the clinical robot docked to a standard FLS trainer box on two tasks—intracorporeal knot tying and peg transfer. Subjects subsequently underwent four 1-h long training sessions in their assigned training environment over a course of several weeks. Robotic surgical skills were reassessed on the robot on the same two tasks used to assess skills prior to training.
FLS training resulted in a greater score improvement than no training for both knot and peg scores. FLS training was also determined to result in greater score improvement than robotic simulator training for knot tying. There was no significant difference in peg transfer or knot tying scores when comparing robotic simulator training and no training.
Robotic surgical skills can be in part derived from psychomotor skills developed in a laparoscopic trainer, especially for complex skills such as intracorporeal knot tying. Acquisition of robotic surgical skills may be enhanced by practice on a laparoscopic simulator using the FLS curriculum. This may be especially helpful when a robotic simulator is not available or is poorly accessible.
KeywordsRobotic surgical procedures Robotics Randomized controlled trial Laparoscopy Simulation training
da Vinci Skills Simulator™
Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery™
This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
This study was funded by the Veterans Administration.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Dr. Goldblatt reports consulting and speaking fees from Medtronic, Inc, grants from Davol, Inc, consulting and speaking fees from WL Gore, Inc, and research grants from Merck, Inc, all outside the submitted work. Dr. Gould receives speaking fees from WL Gore, Inc and consulting fees from Torax Medical, all outside the submitted work. Dr. Davila, Mrs. Helm, and Mr. Frelich report no conflicts of interest.
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