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Robotic Surgery Training with Commercially Available Simulation Systems in 2011: A Current Review and Practice Pattern Survey from the Society of Urologic Robotic Surgeons

originally published in the Journal of Endourology

Costas D. Lallas, John W. Davis, and Members of the Society of Urologic Robotic Surgery

Objectives:   Virtual reality (VR) simulation has the potential to standardize surgical training for robotic surgery. We sought to evaluate all commercially available VR robotic simulators.

Materials and Methods:   A MEDLINE literature search was performed of all applicable keywords. Available VR simulators were evaluated with regard to face, content, and construct validation. Additionally, a survey was e-mailed to all members of the Endourological Society, querying the pervasiveness of VR simulators in robotic surgical training. Finally, each company was e-mailed to ask for a price quote for their respective system.

Results:   There are four VR robotic surgical simulators currently available: RoSS, dV-Trainer, SEP Robot, and da Vinci Skills Simulator. Each system is represented in the literature and all possess varying degrees off ace, content, and construct validity. Although all systems have basic skill sets with performance analysis and metrics software, most do not contain procedural components. When evaluating the results of our survey, most respondents did not possess a VR simulator although almost all believed there to be great potential for these devices in robotic surgical training. With the exception of the SEP Robot, all VR simulators are similar in price.

Conclusions:   VR simulators have a definite role in the future of robotic surgical training. Although the simulators target technical components of training, their largest impact will be appreciated when incorporated into a comprehensive educational curriculum.

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