Comparison of skill training with robotic systems and traditional endoscopy: Implications on training and adoption

Hersh S. Maniar, M. Laurin Council, Sandip M. Prasad, Sunil M. Prasad, Celeste Chu, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background. Robotic systems are being used by an increasing number of surgeons. This environment is markedly different from that of traditional surgery and involves videoscopic guidance, remote surgical control, and the loss of haptic feedback. Defining how surgeons learn with these systems is necessary to establish training protocols for this technology. This study compared the learning curve for a robotic surgical system with that of traditional endoscopy in the performance of two standardized skill drills. Materials and methods. Twenty participants (average age 27 ± 4 years, six females) repeated two standardized endoscopic dexterity and depth perception drills for 15 repetitions with the ZEUS robotic surgical system and manual endoscopic instruments (MAN). A score combining time and precision was given for each repetition. The learning curves and overall performance with and without robotic assistance were compared. Results. For both MAN and ZEUS, improvements in performance were significantly greatest during the first five repetitions (P < 0.01, for both). Participants reached the training curve plateau faster with ZEUS than with conventional instruments (8th versus 10th for both drills). Using robotic assistance, dominant and non-dominant hand performance were statistically similar. The number of errors committed with ZEUS were significantly fewer for drill two (0.09 errors/repetition versus 0.24 errors/repetition, P = 0.002) compared to manual technique. Conclusions. This study demonstrated that training curves for conventional and robotic-assisted systems are remarkably similar. This should prove useful in the training and education of this new technology. This study further suggested that robotics may increase ambidexterity by improving non-dominant hand performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2005


  • Laparoscopic technique
  • Learning curve
  • Robotic surgery
  • Surgical education

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