Title : Initial experience with simulated robot assisted organ model surgery using novel 3D printing technology in Australia
Introduction and Objectives
Robotic surgery procedure numbers are growing rapidly in Australia. Few Australian trainees have access to robotic systems. Surgical skills simulators have bridged some gaps in training. In their current state (mostly virtual reality) they fall short of offering realistic operative experience.
Material and Methods
Robot assisted radical prostatectomy and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection procedures were performed by two Australian urologists and a urology trainee on 3D printed hydrogel organ models with realistic tissue consistency fabricated by the University of Rochester Simulation Innovation Laboratory. Post-simulation questionnaires were completed by the surgeons. Questionnaire results formed a preliminary face and content validity study for the simulated robotic radical prostatectomy models.
Surgeons reported the models to be realistic, enabling simulation of critical steps in a robotic radical prostatectomy. Expert surgeons agreed the models were a valuable training tool. Successful performance of a simulated procedure would make them feel more comfortable giving a registrar more autonomy in live surgery training. The 3D printed prostate model in this pilot study demonstrated the evolution of 3D printing technology in surgery. These models included clinically relevant objective metrics of surgical simulation. Blood loss, nerve traction, positive margins and anastomosis integrity was recorded.
Our early experiences have encouraged us to include 3D printed hydrogel procedural models in a comprehensive robotic surgical curriculum that does not include animal or cadaver models. Models could be used to develop a simulation-based robotic surgery curriculum that vitally improves operative outcomes and reduces surgical complication rates by better training.