Robotic systems are increasingly being incorporated into general laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery to perform procedures such as cholecystectomy and prostatectomy. Robotic assisted surgery allows the surgeon to conduct minimally invasive surgery with increased accuracy and with potential benefits for patients. However, current robotic systems have their limitations. These include the narrow operative field of view, which can make instrument manipulation difficult. Current robotic applications are also tailored to specific surgical procedures. For these reasons, there is an increasing demand on surgeons to master the skills of instrument manipulation and their surgical application within a controlled environment. This study describes the development of a surgical simulator for training and mastering procedures performed with the da Vinci surgical system. The development of a tele-surgery simulator and the construction of a training center are also described, which will enable surgeons to simulate surgery from or in remote places, to collaborate over long distances, and for off-site expert assistance.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.