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Training Better Robotic Surgeons in Virtual Reality: NPR



During a training session, Dr. Kenneth Kim and a surgical assistant do a hysterectomy on a robotic simulator at the UAB Hospital.

Mary Scott Hodgin / WBHM 90.3


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Mary Scott Hodgin / WBHM 90.3

During a training session Dr. Kenneth Kim and a surgical assistant do a hysterectomy on a robot simulator at the UAB Hospital.

Mary Scott Hodgin / WBHM 90.3

Across the country, surgeons are learning to use more than just scalpels and forceps. Over the past decade, more and more medical facilities have invested in da Vinci robots, the most widely used robotic or robotic device.

Robotic surgery is minimally invasive compared to traditional open surgery, and the recovery time is often shorter, making the technology attractive to both patients and physicians. However, the da Vinci surgical system is expensive and costs up to $ 2 million. Recent studies show that some procedures may sometimes lead to worse long-term outcomes than other surgical procedures.

Nevertheless, the robot has become a real robot In some areas, such as urology and gynecology, it is common for growth to continue, meaning that more surgeons are learning to use the device.

"Is not robotic necessarily better?" "says Dr. Kenneth Kim, director of the robot training program at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama." Robots are just another tool that they need to master like any other surgical tool. "

" Mastering the robot, "however, can be challenging

"It has never been a problem, because open operations like scissors-like operations everyone learns how to use scissors in kindergarten," says Kim. "Everyone knows functionally how to use a knife. But with the robot, it's a completely different, new tool, and it's more complex, so now there's a separate learning curve. "

The da Vinci robot is not itself in operation, at least not yet, instead it works almost like The surgeon sits at a console station and uses the hand and foot controls to manipulate a separate surgical part attached to the patient.

Working in Virtual Reality

One way for students to get acquainted with the device is to work in virtual reality, using them in training facilities such as the UAB Surgery provides a simulator to perform monthly tasks and practice common practice.

Teresa Boitano, who lives in OBGYN says Exercises to develop skills that are directly applicable to the operating room. During one of these tasks, Boitano moves the robot arms to place colored rings precisely on the corresponding spikes.

"And so I'm taking that first ring and thinking at the same time: 'OK, now where do I have to go to get the next one?'" Boitano says. "They always try to keep track, but they also make sure you do not make mistakes at the same time."

If she makes a mistake, the device tells her so. According to Kim, the latest simulators are equipped with advanced motion tracking technology. While Boitano performs a task or undergoes a hysterectomy in virtual reality, the simulator records its movement – how it uses the robot arms or how fast it completes the exercise. It provides objective data on the operation performance.

Dr. According to Khurshid Guru, Director of Robotic Surgery at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in New York, this simulator technology helps standardize the training process.

"The analogy is that you no longer have to worry about driving a car because anyone can go on the road, they teach you the basics of driving," Guru says. "The million-dollar question is: when are you allowed on the highway?"

Guru says this is the next step when surgeons specialize in various procedures.

Robot-assisted surgery not for every patient

Dr. Monica Hagan cousin of Ohio State University She has studied robot training programs nationwide and says that using a simulator to measure surgical skills helps to ensure that surgeons have a certain ability before actually operating on humans.

"You can learn the steps of the procedure" says Vetter, "but if you do not know how the robot works, if you do not know how to fix bugs on the robot, or what you should do in an emergency, you're not sure, even if you can perform the world's best hysterectomy all the steps and tools know that. "

Dr., according to Kenneth Kim, help simulators and those prepared by them Data helped to streamline the teaching process and provide students with more objective feedback. For surgeons, this is one way to learn to use the da Vinci robot as a tool, but Kim says they still need to watch and learn. 19659008] In the real world, Kim says that robot-assisted surgery is not suitable for every patient. A surgeon needs to know when to use it and when not to. These decisions may change as researchers continue to investigate the results of robotic surgery.


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