ABSTRACT: Comparison of the learning curves and frustration level in performing laparoscopic and robotic training skills by experts and novices
Robotic assistance may provide for distinct technical advantages over conventional laparoscopic technique. The goals of this study were (1) to objectively evaluate the difference in the learning curves by novice and expert surgeons in performing fundamental laparoscopic skills using conventional laparoscopic surgery (CLS) and robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery (RALS) and (2) to evaluate the surgeons’ frustration level in performing these tasks.
Twelve experienced and 31 novices in laparoscopy were prospectively evaluated in performing three standardized laparoscopic tasks in five consecutive, weekly training sessions. Analysis of the learning curves was based on the magnitude, rate, and quickness in performance improvement. The participant’s frustration and mood were also evaluated during and after every session.
For the novice participants, RALS allowed for shorter time to task completion and greater accuracy. However, significant and rapid improvement in performance as measured by magnitude, rate, and quickness at each session was also seen with CLS. For the experienced surgeons, RALS only provided a slight improvement in performance. For all participants, the use of RALS was associated with less number of sessions in which they felt frustrated, less number of frustration episodes during a session, lower frustration score during and after the session, and higher good mood score.
The advantages of RALS may be of most benefit when doing more complex tasks and by less experienced surgeons. RALS should not be used as a replacement for CLS but rather in specific situations in which it has the greatest advantages.