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Study Further Validates Mimic’s Dry Labs as Effective Method to Train Robotic Surgeons.

MLabs, a new assembly of dry lab modules used in training robotic surgeons, has been further validated in a new study conducted by the University of Southern California (USC).

Dry lab exercises

Dry lab exercises provide an alternative to training on animals when surgeons need to learn basic robotic surgical skills.

“We evaluated the performance of surgeons from around the world as they trained with virtual reality and then matching dry lab exercises. For both novice and experienced surgeons, we found that exceptional surgeon performance on the simulator was associated with exceptional performance on the real robot performing the dry lab tasks,” says Inderbir S. Gill, M.D., M.Ch., chairman & professor, Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, at USC.

Mimic Technologies, the developers of MLabs, is the company that built the simulation platform for Intuitive’s daVinci robot.  The MLabs validation study conducted by USC and was presented at the American Urology Association conference on May 7, 2013.

“MLabs was designed to bridge the gap between virtual reality training and training with the actual robot,” said Jeff Berkley, founder and CEO of Mimic Technologies. “For the first time, surgeons will have comparable content across the different training platforms so that surgeons can efficiently learn the subtle differences between the virtual robot and the real thing.”

MLabs replicates exact physical representations of existing virtual reality exercises available on Mimic’s simulation training platform. The USC study shows that comparable training value can be derived from both virtual and dry lab training.  Such a mixed modality training protocol could reduce overall training costs, as utilization of animals could be reserved for procedure-related training.

Study participants were categorized into two groups, “robot novice” and “expert” (surgeons averaging 200 surgical cases). Surgeons then completed three virtual reality exercises using the da Vinci Skills Simulator in addition to the dry lab version of each exercise on the da Vinci Surgical System. Simulator performance was assessed by metrics measured by the simulator. Dry lab performance was video-evaluated by expert review. Participants also completed a post-study questionnaire.

The “expert surgeons” in the study reported that the dry lab exercises were both “realistic” and “very useful” for the training of novice surgeons. Globally, expert surgeons completed all tasks more efficiently and effectively when compared with novices.

Mimic has developed MLabs for a number of exercises, including “Pick & Place,” “Pegboard,” and “Matchboard,” which became commercially available in April, 2013.

Click here to view the abstract

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Sarah Sherwood
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