OBJECTIVE: Micropick fenestration of the stapes footplate, a difficult step in stapedotomy, was selected for trials evaluating the potential for robotic assistance (RA) to improve clinical measures of surgical performance. STUDY DESIGN: In a surgical model of stapedotomy, we measured accuracy of fenestration to a desired point location and force applied to the stapes footplate. Performance variables were measured for 3 experienced and 3 less-experienced surgeons. RESULTS: RA significantly reduced the maximum force applied to the stapes footplate. For fenestration targeting, RA significantly improved accuracy for less-experienced surgeons and significantly worsened targeting for more-experienced surgeons. CONCLUSIONS: RA significantly improves performance for micropick fenestration in a surgical model of stapedotomy. For certain tasks, RA differentially affects performance for users of different experience levels. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: These are the first results showing quantitative improvements in performance during simulated ear surgery using RA and differential effects of RA on performance for users of different experience levels.
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