The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital unveiled the first training tool that allows medical students and residents to practice robotic surgery in a virtual environment.
"At this point, we are the only school in the United States to get the Robotic Surgical Simulator (RoSS)," said Dr. Joseph Barone, associate professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Barone also is director of the Pediatric Continence Center and chief of the Division of Urology at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He obtained the RoSS with funding from the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and the Karma Foundation through the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Foundation.
The RoSS was produced by the Center for Robotic Surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., and the University of Buffalo's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It closely approximates the touch and feel of the da Vinci robotic surgical system, the only such system approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States, and will familiarize users with how to perform tasks on that system. "It's like a flight simulator," Barone said of the RoSS. "You sit in it, look through a telescope at a 3D image of the area, and practice skills like suturing, knot-tying, and tissue cutting.
"What makes this different from a standard simulator is the ability to see the surgery site in 3D instead of 2D," Barone added. "When you do straight laparoscopic surgery, you lose depth perception. The RoSS adds that dimension."
To date, surgeons are required to take a one-day course, sponsored by the maker of da Vinci, to operate the robotic surgical system. "Our goal is to provide our medical students and residents the opportunity to practice - multiple times - and, ultimately, we hope the RoSS translates into improved patient care and safety in the operating room," Barone said. The da Vinci robotic surgery system is used today for gynecologic, chest, urologic and general surgeries.
Earlier this month, Barone and a handful of colleagues spent the day learning how to use the simulator during a training session. Simulated Surgical Systems, LLC's Thenkurussi Kesavadas, Ph.D., co-inventor of the RoSS, and David Parish will taught members of the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School faculty, who practice at the hospital, how to use the RoSS. "Then we will become instructors and teach medical students and residents," Barone said.