Shay 2018

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Initial and Long‐term Retention of Robotic Technical Skills in an Otolaryngology Residency Program

Sophie G. Shay MD, Jonathan D. Chrin BA, Marilene B. Wang MD, FACS, Abie H. Mendelsohn MD, FACS


To objectively assess the initial and long‐term retention of robotic surgical skills of otolaryngology residents.

Study Design

This study was performed in an academic otolaryngology residency training program. Between October 2015 and November 2016, residents were invited to complete a prospective, multiphase robotic surgical skills training course: 1) online da Vinci Surgical System Assessment and didactic, 2) faculty‐supervised robotic simulator training, 3) robotic docking and draping training, 4) robotic dry‐lab exercises. To optimize surgical skill retention, the training laboratory was repeated 2 weeks after the initial training session.


Twenty otolaryngology residents were included. Primary outcome was measured as robotic skill assessment scores on three tasks: camera targeting, peg board, and needle targeting. Skill assessments were completed prior to training, between the two training sessions, and at 1 month and 6 months after training. Residents were also asked to complete a self‐assessment questionnaire.


Camera targeting scores were improved at midtraining (P < .001) and 1‐month posttraining (P = .010). Peg board scores were improved at 1 month training (P = .043). Needle targeting scores were improved at midtraining (P = .002), 1 month (P = .002), and 6 months posttraining (P < .001). Resident self‐assessment scores demonstrating comfort with using the robotic console (P < .01) and docking/draping (P < .01) improved significantly following the training.


Following a multiphase robotic training program, otolaryngology residents demonstrated significant, objective skill acquisition and retention at 1 month and 6 months follow‐up. Although the proposed training strategy may be considered an important step in otolaryngology residency training, additional innovations are being designed toward a formal robotic training curriculum.

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