Targeting the Future: Developing a Training Curriculum for Robotic Assisted Neurosurgery

World Neurosurg. 2022 Aug 25;S1878-8750(22)01186-X. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2022.08.076. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Technological advances have significantly fostered the use of robotics in neurosurgery. Due to their novelty, there is a need to develop training methods within neurosurgical residency programs that provide trainees the skills to utilize these systems in their future practices safely and effectively.

Methods: We describe a detailed curriculum for trainees with significant responsibilities in the operating room, as well as hands-on and theoretical didactics. The curriculum for robot-assisted stereotactic electroencephalography (SEEG) and deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode implantation technique and assessment tool has been designed based on Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's (ACGME's) milestone requirement for surgical treatment of epilepsy and movement disorders. Residents were surveyed to assess their use of robotics in their surgical training.

Results: Since 2019, more than 100 patients have undergone robot-assisted SEEG and DBS depth electrode implantations at our institution. Residents and fellows were involved in all aspects of surgical planning and execution and were encouraged to take an active role during procedures. Didactic sessions led by experienced faculty are emphasized as important learning tools prior to hands-on experience in the operating room. The results of the survey show that residents receive more training intraoperatively as compared to training sessions, yet trainees would benefit from more instruction on informative cadaveric simulation sessions.

Conclusions: Our curriculum was developed to become a structured tool for assessment of robotic education in neurosurgical training. This curriculum based on ACGME milestone requirements serve as a template for resident and fellow education in robotics in neurosurgery.

Keywords: Curriculum; DBS; Education; Epilepsy; ROSA; Robotics; SEEG.