Impact of robotic general surgery course on participants' surgical practice

Buchs, Nicolas ; Pugin, François ; Volonté, Francesco ; Hagen, Monika ; Morel, Philippe

In: Surgical Endoscopy, 2013, vol. 27, no. 6, p. 1968-1972

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    Background: Courses, including lectures, live surgery, and hands-on session, are part of the recommended curriculum for robotic surgery. However, for general surgery, this approach is poorly reported. The study purpose was to evaluate the impact of robotic general surgery course on the practice of participants. Methods: Between 2007 and 2011, 101 participants attended the Geneva International Robotic Surgery Course, held at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. This 2-day course included theory lectures, dry lab, live surgery, and hands-on session on cadavers. After a mean of 30.1months (range, 2-48), a retrospective review of the participants' surgical practice was performed using online research and surveys. Results: Among the 101 participants, there was a majority of general (58.4%) and colorectal surgeons (10.9%). Other specialties included urologists (7.9%), gynecologists (6.9%), pediatric surgeons (2%), surgical oncologists (1%), engineers (6.9%), and others (5.9%). Data were fully recorded in 99% of cases; 46% of participants started to perform robotic procedures after the course, whereas only 6.9% were already familiar with the system before the course. In addition, 53% of the attendees worked at an institution where a robotic system was already available. All (100%) of participants who started a robotic program after the course had an available robotic system at their institution. Conclusions: A course that includes lectures, live surgery, and hands-on session with cadavers is an effective educational method for spreading robotic skills. However, this is especially true for participants whose institution already has a robotic system available