Virtual reality robotic surgical simulation: An analysis of gynecology trainees

Sangini S. Sheth, Amanda N. Fader, Ana I. Tergas, Christina L. Kushnir, Isabel C. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Study Objective To analyze the learning curves of gynecology trainees on several virtual reality da Vinci Skills Simulator exercises. Design Prospective cohort pilot study. Setting Academic hospital-based gynecology training program. Participants Novice robotic surgeons from a gynecology training program. Methods Novice robotic surgeons from an academic gynecology training program completed 10 repetitions of 4 exercises on the da Vinci Skills Simulator: matchboard, ring and rail, suture sponge, and energy switching. Performance metrics measured included time to completion, economy of instrument movement, excessive force, collisions, master workspace range, missed targets, misapplied energy, critical errors, and overall score. Statistical analyses were conducted to define the learning curve for trainees and the optimal number of repetitions for each exercise. Results A total of 34 participants were enrolled, of which 9 were medical students, 22 were residents, and 3 were fellows. There was a significant improvement in performance between the 1st and 10th repetitions across multiple metrics for all exercises. Senior trainees performed the suture exercise significantly faster than the junior trainees during the first and last repetitions (p = 0.004 and p = 0.003, respectively). However, the performance gap between seniors and juniors narrowed significantly by the 10th repetition. The mean number of repetitions required to achieve performance plateau ranged from 6.4 to 9.3. Conclusion Virtual reality robotic simulation improves ability through repetition at all levels of training. Further, a performance plateau may exist during a single training session. Larger studies are needed to further define the most high-yield simulator exercises, the ideal number of repetitions, and recommended intervals between training sessions to improve operative performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • computer simulation
  • gynecologic surgery
  • minimally invasive/education
  • robotics
  • surgical procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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