Background: To compare the effectiveness of a custom-made skills simulator (CMSS) with the commercially available da Vinci® skills simulator (DVSS) that help improving surgical skills for effective and safe robotic surgical interventions. Methods: A randomized control study was conducted to determine the performance of participants after undergoing robotic surgical training. Total 64 students who had no previous experience with robotic surgery enrolled this study. After 5 min—introduction of robotic surgical system, the participants got random-assignment into two groups to perform either CMSS-or DVSS-exercises. After 15 min-practicing the corresponding simulator, task-execution performance and individual questionnaires were compared between participants trained with the CMSS and those trained with the DVSS. Results: Regardless of simulator the participants used, the system understanding and manipulation ability of the participants was found to be higher than after completing the simulation-based robotic surgical training (p < 0.05). However, there were no significant differences in terms of the required time to complete the tasks, and improvement of understanding the concept of robotic surgery, or surgical skill capacity between two groups (p > 0.05). Conclusions: The training effectiveness of CMSS was not significantly different to DVSS. It can be synergetic tool to DVSS for novice trainees of robotic surgery to get accustomed to the robotic surgical system and to improve their basic robotic surgical skills.
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