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From dV-Trainer to Real Robotic Console: The Limitations of Robotic Skill Training

Kun Yang, MD, PhD, Hang Zhen, MD, Nicolas Hubert, MD, Manuela Perez, MD, PhD, Xing Huan Wang, MD, PhD,  Jacques Hubert, MD

ABSTRACT

Objectives:
To investigate operators’ performance quality, mental stress, and ergonomic habits through a training curriculum on robotic simulators.

Design:
Forty volunteers without robotic surgery experience were recruited to practice 2 exercises on a dV-Trainer (dVT) for 14 hours. The simulator software (M-scorea) provided an automatic evaluation of the overall score for the surgeons’ performance. Each participant provided a subjective difficulty score (validity to be proven) for each exercise. Their ergonomic habits were evaluated based on the workspace range and armrest load—validated criteria for evaluating the proficiency of using the armrest. They then repeated the same tasks on a da Vinci Surgical Skill Simulator for a final-level test. Their final scores were compared with their initial scores and the scores of 5 experts on the da Vinci Surgical Skill Simulator.

Results:
A total of 14 hours of training on the dVT significantly improved the surgeons’ performance scores to the expert level with a significantly reduced workload, but their ergonomic score was still far from the expert level

Conclusions:
Sufficient training on the dVT improves novices’ performance, reduces psychological stress, and inculcates better ergonomic habits. Among the evaluated criteria, novices had the most difficulty in achieving expert levels of ergonomic skills.

The training benefits of robotic surgery simulators should be determined with quantified variables. The detection of the limitations during robotic training curricula could guide the targeted training and improve the training effect.

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