Enhancing Robotic Surgery Training for Better Patient Outcomes

Takashi Eguchi, Eguchi is a Senior Assistant Professor in the Division of General Thoracic Surgery at Shinshu University in Japan. Eguchi developed expertise in minimally invasive surgery, including robotic lung segmentectomy, and he provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary oncology care in Shinshu University Hospital.

Robotic surgery offers precise and effective treatments, but requires specialized training for surgeons. This article explores a comprehensive training program focused on essential elements: skills, knowledge, and strategy. By addressing challenges and adopting tailored simulation training, we aim to improve surgical outcomes and provide the highest quality care for patients.


The advent of robotic surgery has revolutionized the field of modern surgical practice, offering enhanced precision, reduced invasiveness, and improved patient outcomes. However, as technology advances, surgeons must adapt and refine their skills to remain proficient in these complex procedures. This article demonstrates the importance of enhancing robotic surgery training and discusses the potential benefits of implementing tailored practical simulation training for surgeons. By addressing the unique challenges posed by robotic surgical systems and developing effective training methodologies, the surgical community can ensure optimal patient outcomes and maintain the highest standards of care.

Current Challenges in Robotic Surgery Training

Traditional surgical training methods, such as direct observation and supervised practice, may not adequately address the unique challenges posed by robotic surgical systems. Furthermore, training using animal models or cadavers often lacks the fidelity and adaptability necessary for effective learning. The limited availability of expert mentors and the inherent risks associated with on-the-job training in live patients compound these challenges. To address these limitations, there is a pressing need for more realistic and adaptable training methods that accurately represent the complex nature of robotic surgical procedures. These innovative training approaches should enable surgeons to develop the technical skills, cognitive abilities, and confidence required for successful clinical practice.

Tailored Practical Simulation Training: A Comprehensive Approach

Tailored practical simulation training can help address the challenges associated with robotic surgery by providing a comprehensive learning experience that targets essential elements of surgical success, including skills, knowledge, and strategy (Figure). This approach should meet specific requirements to ensure its effectiveness: sustainability, adaptability, and reality. By providing that the training is sustainable, it can be easily integrated into surgeons' continuous professional development. Adaptability allows the training to evolve with technological advances and surgical techniques, while reality ensures that the training replicates real-life scenarios as closely as possible.

Key features of tailored practical simulation training include real-time feedback, high availability, high fidelity, and reproducibility of specific surgical situations. Real-time feedback allows for immediate correction of errors and refinement of techniques, accelerating the learning process. High availability ensures that surgeons can access training resources whenever needed, while high fidelity guarantees a realistic representation of clinical situations. The ability to reproduce specific surgical situations enables surgeons to practice challenging and rare cases, enhancing their overall proficiency.

The primary goals of tailored practical simulation training are to enhance surgeons' skills, improve proficiency, boost confidence, increase patient safety, and produce better patient outcomes while reducing overall costs. By exposing surgeons to a wide variety of surgical scenarios and offering opportunities for feedback and improvement, tailored practical simulation training has the potential to significantly improve the quality of robotic surgery training. This innovative approach can lead to better patient outcomes, as well-qualified and well-trained surgeons are better equipped to handle the complexities of robotic surgery.

Diagram illustrating stages of a process: 1. Initiation 2. Planning 3. Execution 4. Monitoring 5. Closure.

Figure: The requirements, key features, and goals of tailored practical simulation training

Shinshu University's Innovative Robotic Surgery Training Methods

At Shinshu University, we are dedicated to advancing robotic surgery training by implementing innovative methods that address the specific requirements and goals of tailored practical simulation training. Our approach focuses on three key components: three-dimensional computed tomography (3D-CT), chicken meat, and isolated swine heart-lung models with vascular filling.

We utilise 3D-CT imaging to create accurate, patient-specific models that facilitate precise surgical planning and execution. These models allow surgeons to better understand the anatomical structures, enhancing their ability to perform complex robotic procedures. Chicken meat is used to mimic human tissue, offering a cost-effective and easily accessible medium for practicing essential robotic surgical skills. Lastly, the isolated swine heart-lung model with vascular filling simulates the human thoracic cavity, providing a realistic environment to practice advanced lung surgeries. Together, these innovative methods employed at Shinshu University contribute to the development of highly skilled robotic surgeons, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

Key Considerations for Enhancing Robotic Surgery Training

Ongoing advancements in technology: Virtual reality, augmented reality, and AI-based tools have the potential to revolutionize surgical training by providing immersive and personalized learning experiences. These technologies can be integrated into tailored practical simulation training to create highly realistic and adaptable training environments.

Collaboration and knowledge sharing: Cooperation among institutions, industry partners, and surgical teams is essential for advancing the field of robotic surgery training. By sharing experiences, best practices, and innovative techniques, the surgical community can collectively work towards improving patient outcomes.

Validation and assessment: To ensure the effectiveness of tailored practical simulation training, it is crucial to validate and assess these training methods using objective performance metrics. By collecting and analyzing data on training outcomes, institutions can make evidence-based decisions regarding the implementation and refinement of simulation-based training programs.

Ethical considerations and patient consent: The use of patient-specific data and anatomical models for training purposes raises ethical questions regarding patient privacy and consent. Institutions must address these concerns by developing and adhering to guidelines that protect patient confidentiality while facilitating practical surgical training.

Cost-effectiveness and resource allocation: Implementing tailored practical simulation training requires significant investment in technology, infrastructure, and personnel. Institutions must carefully evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these programs and allocate resources to ensure that they maximize their potential impact on patient outcomes.


Tailored practical simulation training has the potential to revolutionize surgical education and improve patient outcomes in the field of robotic surgery. By addressing the unique challenges posed by robotic surgical systems, this comprehensive approach to training can equip surgeons with the skills, knowledge, and confidence required for clinical practice. As technology continues to evolve, the surgical community needs to embrace and refine tailored practical simulation training methodologies to ensure that they remain at the cutting edge of surgical innovation and patient care.

Takashi Eguchi

Attending Surgeon / Senior Assistant Professor, Division of General Thoracic Surgery, Shinshu University Hospital

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