Da Vinci Surgeons Offered Robotic Simulator Training
As lawsuits related to injuries allegedly resulting from inadequate surgeon training on the da Vinci Surgical Robot System continue to surface, Mimic Technologies, Inc., a Seattle-based company has seized the opportunity to provide surgeons with a simulator called the dV-Trainer, which allows surgeons to sharpen their robotic surgery skills in a virtual environment simulating robotic surgery.
Since the FDA has yet to establish specific guidelines regarding a specific threshold of training that a surgeon must undergo prior to conducting robotic surgery on a live patient, this new technology may help reduce the number of injuries allegedly sustained by patients undergoing robotic surgery.
Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the manufacturer of the da Vinci Robotic System, collaborated with Mimic Technologies to create the Skill Simulator.1
According to Dr. John Lenihan, “A novice can take eight to 10 hours to complete a procedure that an experienced surgeon can complete in an hour or two – a costly difference that can be reduced with training on a simulator. Simulators also help surgeons maintain proficiency if they go too long between procedures.”1
Dr. Lenihan, former Air Force pilot trained on a simulator, stated that it can take 50-200 practice sessions to become proficient at performing surgery with the da Vinci robot.1 However, practice sessions put “wear and tear” on the robot without generating any revenue, which could be an explanation as to why hospitals have not previously required more comprehensive and repetitive training for surgeons prior to performing live procedures on patients. The dV-Trainer and da Vinci Skill Simulators gives surgeons the ability to practice without endangering patients and putting wear and tear on the actual surgical robots.
To date, the simulators focus on eight different skills, scored based on the surgeon’s performance. Mimic has recommended that hospitals use the score as a threshold factor prior to allowing surgeons to operate on a patient. According to Seattle Business, “The Mimic system reduces hospital costs by reducing errors in surgery, cutting wear and tear on the expensive machines and making the machines more available for use in revenue-generating surgery instead of practice.”2
Florida Hospital Nicholson Center has partnered with Mimic to educate surgeons “about the importance of effective training, in order to save lives and improve costs and quality…it is our hope that access to quality simulation training will move surgeons more rapidly up the learning curve,” says Jeff Berkley, founder and CEO of Mimic Technologies. The partnership includes a curriculum that will “accelerate the adoption of the latest robotic technologies and techniques and surgeon skill expertise.”3
Mimic’s success has gone worldwide. The University Hospital of Nancy, France has five simulators, making it the largest concentration of robotic simulators in the world. Given that the hospital conducts training courses to teach surgeons from various parts of Europe how to use the da Vinci robot, it makes sense that they would have such a large number of simulators.4
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury that may be related to the da Vinci surgical robot, please contact Audet & Partners, LLP by calling us toll free at 800.965.1461, or complete our confidential inquiry form on the right side of this page. Please act now, since the law may limit your right to recovery if you delay.