OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: To develop a program for teaching robotic skills to residents. To assess the development of proficiency in basic robotic surgical skills in a resident cohort. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective educational project using a commercially available surgical robot. Residents use a surgical robot to complete a designated set of tasks intended to simulate surgical maneuvers. Performance is analyzed for errors and total time of procedure. METHODS: Otolaryngology residents are introduced to robotic surgery with a tutorial on the usage of the da Vinci Surgical System (Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA). Participants perform defined exercises accomplishing the following tasks: circular pin transfer, simultaneous bimanual carrying, precision bead drop, needle passing, and suture tying. Performance of these tasks can be quantitatively assessed. RESULTS: An educational program for teaching residents basic robotic skills can easily be introduced into a residency program. Resident progress in acquiring robotic surgical skills can be measured. The analysis of variance for composite score revealed statistically significant effects for task (F(4,24) = 8.11, P < .01) and trial (F(2,12) = 5.71, P < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Robotic surgery will likely become an integral part of otolaryngologic surgical practice. Training programs in robotic surgery need to be formally established in residency programs. We present a preliminary program for introducing robotic surgical skills in residency training.
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