Are basic robotic surgical skills transferable from the simulator to the operating room? A randomized, prospective, educational study
Introduction: We aimed to assess the transferability of basic robotic skills from the simulator to the operating room (OR) while performing robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP).
Methods: Fourteen urology residents were randomized into two groups: group A was required to practice three sessions (nine tasks each) on the simulator, whereas group B was required to practice (same nine tasks) until they reached competency. Both groups were recorded while practicing on the da Vinci Surgical Skills Simulator. Both groups were then recorded while performing bladder mobilization during RARP. Senior residents from both groups were also recorded while performing urethro-vesical anastomosis during RARP. Recordings were assessed blindly using the validated Global Evaluative Assessment of Robotic Skills (GEARS) tool by C-SATS. Spearman’s correlation coefficient (rho) was used to assess correlation between GEARS scores from practice sessions on the da Vinci Simulator and the GEARS scores from bladder mobilization and urethro-vesical anastomosis during RARP.
Results: There was no difference in total GEARS scores between the two groups in the OR. Total GEARS scores for “ring and rail 2” and “suture sponge” tasks correlated with the total GEARS scores during urethro-vesical anastomosis (rho=0.86, p=0.007; rho=0.90, p=0.002, respectively). GEARS’ efficiency component during “energy and dissection” task on the da Vinci Simulator correlated with GEARS’ efficiency component during bladder mobilization (rho=0.62, p=0.03). GEARS’ force sensitivity component during “ring and rail 2” and “dots and needles” tasks on the da Vinci Simulator correlated with GEARS’ force sensitivity component during bladder mobilization (rho=0.58, p=0.047; rho =0.65, p=0.02, respectively).
Conclusions: Objective assessments of urology residents on the da Vinci Surgical Skills Simulator tasks ring and rail 2 and suture sponge correlated with their objective assessments of bladder mobilization and urethro-vesical anastomosis. Therefore, basic robotic skills could be transferred from the simulator to the OR.
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