Hysterectomies can be traumatic for a woman, but the fact is that nearly 433,000 of them are performed in the United States each year, making them the second most common surgical procedure in the country. As more types of surgeries are beginning to utilize robots to assist in the procedures, several organizations are working to make robot-assisted hysterectomies more common. The pros of robotic surgeries are many. Recovery time is faster, the patient generally experiences less post-operative pain, and, because the surgeries can be performed with only tiny incisions, scarring is minimal. Doctors operate using tiny cameras that transmit data to monitors in the operating room, which allows them to operate through small surface incisions.
3D Systems announced today that it has partnered with Intuitive Surgical and Fundamentals of Robotic Gynecologic Surgery (FRGS) to develop training modules for minimally invasive, robotic hysterectomies. Intuitive Surgical was one of the pioneers of robotic surgery, and is now the global leader in robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery.
Their da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which was introduced in 1999 and features high-definition 3D imagery, served as the model for a new 3DS virtual reality training program that will allow surgeons to perform a complete, hands-on, realistic virtual surgery. The Robotic Hysterectomy Complete Procedure Module will consist of videos, step-by-step instructions, and performance reports. The module includes a number of potential emergency situations and complications to prepare surgeons as fully as possible for anything that could go wrong during an actual surgery.
The Hysterectomy Procedural Tasks training module was created by 3D Systems and FRGS using the latter’s curriculum, which was developed during a 2014 conference. This module will focus more closely on the individual steps involved in a robotic hysterectomy. The Procedural Tasks module will run on 3D Systems’ virtual reality robotic-surgery training simulator platform, RobotiX Mentor, which already provides a number of other surgical training modules.
“The FRGS is excited to incorporate virtual reality surgical simulation for gaining the skills and knowledge critical to perform a successful robotic procedure,” said Dr. Jeffrey Levy, Board Member for the Institute for Surgical Excellence (ISE). “We believe simulation-based education and training will enhance the quality and safety of patient care.”
The two new modules will be presented at the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists 2015 Global Conference, which will be held in Las Vegas from November 15-19. The modules, along with several other RobotiX Mentor training modules for women’s health, will be available for hands-on demonstrations. A number of 3D Systems’ 3D printed organ models will be on hand as well.
There may never be a day when surgery is approached without apprehension, but technologies such as robotics and 3D printing are certainly making operations easier, safer, and quicker. The news that some of the major robotic-surgery organizations are focusing in on women’s health is great news. While nothing can take away the emotional impact of having one’s uterus removed, at least some of the potential physical impacts can be lessened thanks to these developments.
Discuss this partnership in the 3D Systems, Intuitive Surgery and FRGS Forum thread on 3DPB.com.