To compare the surgical performance of manual and robotically assisted laparoscopic instruments on basic maneuvers and intracorporeal suturing in inanimate models.
A set of laparoscopic tasks was used to evaluate basic endoscopic movements and intracorporeal suturing: positioning a cylinder on a Peg-Board, dropping beads into receptacles, running a 25-cm rope, and capping a hypodermic needle. Intracorporeal knot tying and running a suture through predetermined points were evaluated separately. The sutures used for these tasks were 2-0 and 4-0 silk and 6-0 and 7-0 polypropylene.
Twenty surgeons completed the set of laparoscopic tasks manually and then with a robotically assisted system. None had used the robotic system before.
Main Outcome Measures
Time required to complete the tasks and the precision in performing them.
The robotic system accurately reproduced the movements of the surgeons and filtered their hand tremors efficiently. In the basic tasks, operative times were significantly longer for the robotic system (P<.001). In the suturing tasks, operative times were longer with the use of the robotic system for sutures sizes 2-0 and 4-0 (P<.001). However, time differences were not significant for suture sizes 6-0 and 7-0 (P≥.07). Precision measurements were similar for all tasks using the manual instruments and the robotically assisted system. No significant differences were found between the performance of advanced laparoscopic surgeons and laparoscopic fellows.
Laparoscopic maneuvering and suturing is faster and just as precise when performed manually as when performed with the prototype robotic system. These differences in speed are inversely proportional to the size of the suture. Future generations of the robotic system may eliminate these differences.