Background Robotic platforms have the potential advantage of providing additional dexterity and precision to surgeons while performing complex laparoscopic tasks, especially for those in training. Few quantitative evaluations of surgical task performance comparing laparoscopic and robotic platforms among surgeons of varying experience levels have been done. We compared measures of quality and efficiency of Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery task performance on these platforms in novices and experienced laparoscopic and robotic surgeons. Methods Fourteen novices, 12 expert laparoscopic surgeons (>100 laparoscopic procedures performed, no robotics experience), and five expert robotic surgeons (>25 robotic procedures performed) performed three Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery tasks on both laparoscopic and robotic platforms: peg transfer (PT), pattern cutting (PC), and intracorporeal suturing. All tasks were repeated three times by each subject on each platform in a randomized order. Mean completion times and mean errors per trial (EPT) were calculated for each task on both platforms. Results were compared using Student's t-test (P < 0.05 considered statistically significant). Results Among novices, greater errors were noted during laparoscopic PC (Lap 2.21 versus Robot 0.88 EPT, P < 0.001). Among expert laparoscopists, greater errors were noted during laparoscopic PT compared with robotic (PT: Lap 0.14 versus Robot 0.00 EPT, P = 0.04). Among expert robotic surgeons, greater errors were noted during laparoscopic PC compared with robotic (Lap 0.80 versus Robot 0.13 EPT, P = 0.02). Among expert laparoscopists, task performance was slower on the robotic platform compared with laparoscopy. In comparisons of expert laparoscopists performing tasks on the laparoscopic platform and expert robotic surgeons performing tasks on the robotic platform, expert robotic surgeons demonstrated fewer errors during the PC task (P = 0.009). Conclusions Robotic assistance provided a reduction in errors at all experience levels for some laparoscopic tasks, but no benefit in the speed of task performance. Robotic assistance may provide some benefit in precision of surgical task performance.
- Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery
- Laparoscopic surgery
- Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery
- Surgical task performance