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Baystate's Robotic Surgical Simulator (RoSS) Lends a Guiding Hand to Novice Surgeons

by Sharon J. Glazer, MPH, Editor, Academics@Baystate newsletter | July 01, 2011
 

Baystate Medical Center Simulation Center's newly acquired Robotic Surgical Simulator (RoSS) is a training system that uses virtual reality to closely approximate the look and feel of the da Vinci surgical robot. It teaches the body position, hand articulation, foot movement and coordination, and robotic field visualization required to perform robot-assisted surgery. Dr. Neal Seymour, Director, Baystate Simulation Center and Surgical Skills Lab, says it doesn't teach all the skills needed to operate the complex robot, but, "It's amazing how much like using the da Vinci console it is!"

Dr. Seshadri on RoSS Robotic Surgical Simulator

Dr. Ramanathan Seshadri Demonstrating the RoSS


Baystate's newly acquired Robotic Surgical Simulator (RoSS) is a training system that uses virtual reality to closely approximate the look and feel of the da Vinci surgical robot. It teaches the body position, hand articulation, foot movement and coordination, and robotic field visualization required to perform robot-assisted surgery. Dr. Neal Seymour, Director, Baystate Simulation Center and Surgical Skills Lab, says it doesn't teach all the skills needed to operate the complex robot, but, "It's amazing how much like using the da Vinci console it is!"


Baystate Medical Center Has the Only RoSS in New England

"It puts BMC at the top in New England for surgery residents. Only a handful of residencies allow residents to participate in robotic surgery."

—Ramanathan Seshadri, MD
Surgery Chief Resident

Dr. Ramanathan Seshadri, Surgery Chief Resident, who has trained on the RoSS, feels that it will be a "huge differentiator" for Baystate's residency programs. "And it will give Baystate residents considering fellowships involving robotic surgery a leg up on their competition," adds Dr. Seymour.


RoSS Training Provides Solution to Educational Need

There is a growing need to train physicians to do robot-assisted surgery. RoSS comes with a Basic Skills module that teaches skills such as tissue cutting and fourth arm manipulation, and a Basic Orientation module that develops competence in synchronous camera and arm movement, and proficient use of dominant and non- dominant hands. It also has a metrics tool that evaluates performance so that surgeons can track their progress.


RoSS Robotic Surgical Simulator

View of Surgical Procedure Through the RoSS Stereo Display

Image: Simulated Surgical Systems. Link to video on YouTube

Surgical Procedures modules using Hands-on Surgical Training (HoST) software immerse the trainee in a virtual surgical scenario based on a real case performed by a master surgeon.


HoST guides the trainee through complex motions by giving performance feedback in the form of tactile sensations. The software operates like a checklist, only advancing to the next step when the current step is done correctly.


"We are very excited about getting people onto this device," Seymour says. "Our urology attendings will use it first, then our ob-gyn and general surgery residents."


Baystate Will Play Key Role in Validating RoSS Training

Baystate was able to procure the tenth RoSS manufactured through collaboration with RoSS developers, the Center for Robotic Surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY and the University of Buffalo's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Because of the Baystate Simulation Center's reputation for making major contributions in the field of virtual reality devices and hybrid computer-driven simulators, RoSS developers approached Dr. Seymour to coordinate a multicenter study to validate its use.


Seymour helped develop a protocol for evaluating the simulator's curricula, explaining, "We're sorting out things like: What task difficulty is most appropriate for the learner? How long are they permitted to train in a single session? What does good performance mean? And is it a reflection of something you would predict would be valuable when the trainee goes to the operating room?"


Baystate has one of the most advanced labs in in the U.S. in terms of inventory of equipment and training capabilities, according to Dr. Seymour, who says, "The American College of Surgeons Education Institute Consortium has identified us as a destination to see for institutions interested in developing a simulation center." And he sees participation in studies like this as a way to ensure that Baystate is "future-proof" when it comes to release of the next generation of machines.

This article was published in the July 2011 Academics@Baystate newsletter.

 
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