Can teenage novel users perform as well as General Surgery residents upon initial exposure to a robotic surgical system simulator?

A. Mehta, S. Patel, W. Robison, T. Senkowski, J. Allen, E. Shaw, C. Senkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


New techniques in minimally invasive and robotic surgical platforms require staged curricula to insure proficiency. Scant literature exists as to how much simulation should play a role in training those who have skills in advanced surgical technology. The abilities of novel users may help discriminate if surgically experienced users should start at a higher simulation level or if the tasks are too rudimentary. The study’s purpose is to explore the ability of General Surgery residents to gain proficiency on the dVSS as compared to novel users. The hypothesis is that Surgery residents will have increased proficiency in skills acquisition as compared to naive users. Six General Surgery residents at a single institution were compared with six teenagers using metrics measured by the dVSS. Participants were given two 1-h sessions to achieve an MScoreTM in the 90th percentile on each of the five simulations. MScoreTM software compiles a variety of metrics including total time, number of attempts, and high score. Statistical analysis was run using Student’s t test. Significance was set at p value <0.05. Total time, attempts, and high score were compared between the two groups. The General Surgery residents took significantly less Total Time to complete Pegboard 1 (PB1) (p = 0.043). No significant difference was evident between the two groups in the other four simulations across the same MScoreTM metrics. A focused look at the energy dissection task revealed that overall score might not be discriminant enough. Our findings indicate that prior medical knowledge or surgical experience does not significantly impact one’s ability to acquire new skills on the dVSS. It is recommended that residency-training programs begin to include exposure to robotic technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Robotic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Novel users
  • Resident performance
  • Robotic simulator
  • Robotic training
  • dVSS
  • da Vinci Surgical Simulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Health Informatics


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