Purpose: Virtual reality simulators with self-assessment software may assist novice robotic surgeons to augment direct proctoring in robotic surgical skill acquisition. We compare and correlate the da Vinci Trainer™ (dVT) and da Vinci Surgical Skills Simulators (dVSSS) in subjects with varying robotic experience. Materials and Methods: Students, urology residents, fellows, and practicing urologists with varying robotic experience were enrolled after local institutional review board approval. Three virtual reality tasks were preformed in sequential order (pegboard 1, pegboard 2, and tubes)-initially on the dVSSS and then on the dVT. The Mimic™ software used on both systems provides raw values and percent scores that were used in statistical evaluation. Statistical analysis was performed with the two-tailed independent t-test, analysis of variance, Tukey, and the Pearson rank correlation coefficient where appropriate. Results: Thirty-two participants were recruited for this study and separated into five groups based on robotic surgery experience. In regards to construct validity, both simulators were able to differentiate differences among the five robotic surgery experience groups in the tubes suturing task (p≤0.00). Sixty-seven percent (4/6) robotic experts thought that surgical simulation should be implemented in residency training. The overall cohort considered both platforms easy to learn and use. Conclusions: Although performance scores were less in the dVT compared with the dVSSS, both simulators demonstrate good content and construct validity. The simulators appear to be equivalent for assessing surgeon proficiency and either can be used for robotic skills training with self-assessment feedback.
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