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Comparison of Two Simulation Systems to Support Robotic-Assisted Surgical Training: A Pilot Study (Swine Model)

originally published in The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology

Sabrina V. Whitehurst, MD, Ernest G. Lockrow, DO*, Thomas S. Lendvay, MD,
Anthony M. Propst, MD, Susan G. Dunlow, MD, Christopher J. Rosemeyer, DO,
Joseph M. Gobern, MD, Lee W. White, PhD, Anna Skinner, PhD, and Jerome L. Buller, MD

Objective:  To compare the efficacy of simulation-based training between the Mimic dV- Trainer and traditional dry lab da Vinci robot training.

Design:  A prospective randomized study analyzing the performance of 20 robotics-naive participants. Participants were enrolled in an online da Vinci Intuitive Surgical didactic training module, followed by training in use of the da Vinci standard surgical robot. Spatial ability tests were performed as well. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 training conditions: performance of 3 Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery dry lab tasks using the da Vinci or performance of 4 dV-Trainer tasks. Participants in both groups performed all tasks to empirically establish proficiency criterion. Participants then performed the transfer task, a cystotomy closure using the daVinci robot on a live animal (swine) model. The performance of robotic tasks was blindly assessed by a panel of experienced surgeons using objective tracking data and using the validated Global Evaluative Assessment of Robotic Surgery (GEARS), a structured assessment tool.

Results:  No statistically significant difference in surgeon performance was found between the 2 training conditions, dV-Trainer and da Vinci robot. Analysis of a 95% confidence interval for the difference in means (20.803 to 0.543) indicated that the 2 methods are unlikely to differ to an extent that would be clinically meaningful.

Conclusion:  Based on the results of this study, a curriculum on the dV- Trainer was shown to be comparable to traditional da Vinci robot training. Therefore, we have identified that training on a virtual reality system may be an alternative to live animal training for future robotic surgeons.

Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology (2015) 22, 483–488 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of AAGL.

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