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Modular Comparison of Laparoscopic and Robotic Simulation Platforms in Residency Training: A Randomized Trial

originally published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology

Mostafa A. Borahay, MD; Mary C. Haver, MD; Benjamin Eastham, MD; Pooja R. Patel, MD; and Gokhan S. Kilic, MD

Study Objective:   To compare minimally invasive surgery (MIS) skills acquired using laparoscopic and robotic simulation training platforms.
Design: Randomized trial (Canadian Task Force classification I).
Setting: University residency training program.

Subjects:   PGY1 and PGY2 resident physicians in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Interventions: All residents completed pre study questionnaires (demographic data and previous experience in MIS) followed by simulation pretesting to assess baseline laparoscopic and robotic skills. Residents were then randomized to laparoscopic or robotic training cohorts in which they completed proctored training of 4 basic laparoscopic or 4 matching robotic modules(1 hour per module, 4 hours total). Thereafter, residents repeated the timed assessment of all skills. Finally, they completed post study questionnaires about the training experience. The primary outcome measure was the percentage of improvement in skill completion time. Secondary outcome measures were answers to post study questionnaires.

Measurements and Main Results:   Sixteen residents completed the study. The laparoscopic and robotic training groups did not differ substantially on demographic measures, previous experience in MIS, or baseline laparoscopic and robotic completion times. Median improvement for individual laparoscopic modules was, respectively, 37.76%, 46.43%, 53.29%, and66.48% in the laparoscopic cohort vs 21.84%, 21.80%, 38.15%, and 32.98% in the robotic cohort. Median improvement for individual robotic modules was, respectively, 35.42%, 26.08%, 22.33%, and 47.48% in the laparoscopic cohort vs52.70%, 62.02%, 67.64%, and 71.62% in the robotic cohort. Median improvement in combined laparoscopic, robotic, and overall skills was, respectively, 50.56%, 34.83%, and 45.52% in the laparoscopic group vs 36.18%, 64.12%, and 49.86%in the robotic group. Residents predicted greater comfort performing surgical procedures using the platform in which theyt rained; however, the robotic training cohort liked their training more.

Conclusions:   Laparoscopic and robotic simulation platforms each demonstrated improved performance in the same and other platform. The robotic platform seems to have an edge over the laparoscopic platform. Larger studies are required in addition to studies to compare the effectiveness of both platforms in more advanced skills and to compare their effect on proficiency in the operating room.

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