A “Flight Simulator” for Robotic Surgery

The most widely used system of its kind in the world, the da Vinci ™ robotic surgical system affords all the features that an experienced surgeon needs to ensure equivalent or superior outcomes to conventional surgery.

But such a surgical system, like an aircraft, “is only as good as the pilot, and the current training required for proficiency in robot-assisted surgery is unfortunately less than ideal,” said Khurshid A. Guru, Director of the Center for Robotic Surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “We believe that through better training tools, the early learning curve of robot-assisted surgery can be shortened without jeopardizing the safety and welfare of patients.”

The robotic surgical simulator addresses the need for a realistic training environment for robot-assisted surgery. “Think of the simulator as a flight simulator for surgeons,” explained Thenkurussi Kesavadas, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University at Buffalo, who, with Guru, co-founded the company Simulated Surgical Systems, LLC to commercialize the simulators.

“Until now, surgeons have not had sufficient opportunities outside of the operating room to gain extensive training in robotic techniques,” said Guru. Instead, he explains, surgeons usually start by “shadowing” a colleague who is more experienced with robotics in the operating room; once they are seen as having developed some proficiency, they start doing robotic surgeries on their own patients.

COMPAMED.de; Source: Roswell Park Cancer Institute