Buffalo researchers have unveiled a simulator to train doctors to perform robotic surgery, similar to the way pilots use virtual-reality devices for flight training, reports the Buffalo News. The simulator could fill a glaring need in medicine. Demand for robotic surgery is growing faster than the ability to train surgeons, and the learning curve is considered steep, requiring dozens of cases to become proficient. Yet hospitals are reluctant to spend $2 million on a robotic surgery unit and use it for training inexperienced physicians. “While surgical practice does make perfect, we believe that through better training tools, the early learning curve of robot-assisted surgery can be shortened without jeopardizing the safety and welfare of patients,” said Dr. Khurshid A. Guru, director of the Center for Robotic Surgery and a surgeon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Guru developed the Robotic Surgical Simulator, or RoSS, with Thenkurussi Kesavadas, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo and head of the school’s Virtual Reality Lab. The simulator approximates the feel of the Da Vinci Surgical System, robotic equipment that is controlled by a surgeon who sits at a console. That means the surgeon doesn’t have the normal sensation of feeling a knife in his hand. “With robotic surgery, you don’t have feedback, so you feel disconnected from the patient. That takes a lot of training to get used to,” Kesavadas said. He and Guru said hospitals and medical schools should incorporate robotic surgery simulators in the training of physicians in the same way that airlines use flight simulators to reduce pilot error…

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About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.


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