Setting Benchmarks for the New User: Training on the Robotic Simulator

Shayan M. Dioun, MD, Nicole D. Fleming, MD, Mark F. Munsell, BA, Joseph Lee, MD, Pedro T. Ramirez, MD, Pamela T. Soliman, MD


Background and Objectives:
Data showing the impact of the robotic simulator on fellowship training are limited. This study was conducted to determine whether simulator scores reflect the experience of the robotic gynecologic surgeon and to develop a simulator curriculum for trainees in gynecologic oncology.

All faculty and fellows in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine were asked to participate. For phase 1, all participants were divided into 2 groups based on robotic surgical experience: beginner (0–50 cases) and experienced (>50 cases). Each participant completed 9 modules 3 times each to establish baseline data. Median module scores for the experienced group defined the benchmarks scores. In phase 2, all trainees who did not meet the benchmark score on a module were asked to repeat the module until they reached the score twice.

Twenty-four participants were included: 18 beginners and 6 experienced surgeons. For all modules, experienced surgeons received higher median scores than beginners. There was a significant difference between the scores of the 2 groups in the Energy Switching 1 (87.5 vs 92.5; P = .002) and Suture Sponge 2 (75.0 vs 87.3; P = .011) modules. Thirteen trainees participated in phase 2. For 8 of 9 of the modules, >75% of trainees met proficiency, with a median of 3 to 6 attempts (range, 2–24).

Based on the findings, scores reflected each surgeon’s experience. With repetition, most of the trainees were able to reach the benchmark scores. Further study is needed to determine the impact of surgical simulation on true intraoperative performance.

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