Comparison of da Vinci® Skills Simulator and dV-Trainer as a Training Tool in Robotic Surgery

originally published in Progrès en Urologie

Hubert, M. Perezb, C. Perrenotb, Y. Kunb, Iadi b, S. Xub

OBJECTIVES:   Two simulators for robotic surgery, the Da Vinci Skill Simulator® (DVSS, Intuitive Surgical) and the dV-Trainer® (DVT, Mimic) have demonstrated their validity for assessment and training in robotic surgery. The DVSS is based on the software of the DVT, but has been adapted to the Da Vinci SI® robot console. The aim of this study was to compare these two simulators which differ in hardware (and cost).

METHODS:   Thirty-three surgeons were included in this study conducted in April 2013. All surgeons performed, in a randomized order, five representative exercises for basic robotic maneuvers on each simulator. The answers to the questionnaire regarding the realism and relevance of each simulator were collected as well as the scores that were automatically generated by the two simulators during the exercises. The comparison between the DVSS and DVT was performed using a Pearson coefficient.

RESULTS:   The study included 25 men and 14 women, mean age 40.4 years (+/- 11.1). Fourteen had experience in robotic surgery, having performed an average of 5.7 (+/- 11.5) cases. The realism of the DVSS and DVT was considered to be substantial by most surgeons (100% and 89.7%, respectively). The most distinguishing features between the simulators were the manipulation of the extracorporeal controller (EndoWrist) and the 3D vision. The average score on the DVSS was 89.9 +/- 5.8% and on the DVT was 86.8 +/- 5.7%. The 3% difference between the two scores was statistically significant, particularly for the Match Board exercise; 83.9 +/- 10.5% and 73.6 +/- 14.3%, respectively (p = 0.0005). The correlation between the scores of the two simulators DVSS and DVT was high (Pearson coefficient r = 0.87).

CONCLUSION:   The realism and concurrent validity of DVT are very good, however there are differences compared to DVSS, especially regarding the handling of the extracorporeal controllers. Both simulators can be considered good tools for training in robotic surgery. Their cost differentials may lead to preferential usage at different stages of training.

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