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Surg Endosc. 2005 Apr;19(4):477-83. Epub 2005 Feb 10.

Value of the SAGES Learning Center in introducing new technology.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 North Wolfe Street, Blalock 665, Baltimore, MD 21287-4665, USA.



The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) Learning Center is a group of educational "classrooms" designed to tutor meeting attendees on specific technology-intensive content areas. The objectives of the Robotics Station were to familiarize participants with basic laparoscopic skills as implemented with surgical robotic assistance and to help them explore the benefits and drawbacks of using robotics in their institutions.


Sixty-six volunteer surgeon attendees of the 2003 SAGES meeting representing a diverse group of backgrounds and possessing varying levels of surgical experience were directed through a series of drills on two different surgical robots. Each participant was directed through a series of three drills that practiced surgically relevant skills. Participants were given feedback on their performance. They then completed a 12-question computer-based questionnaire that surveyed their personal demographic backgrounds, their impressions of robotic surgery, and their opinions regarding the learning center's utility in educating them about new technology.


Sixty-eight percent of participants had never used a surgical robot, and 89% had never used a robot clinically. Eighty-eight percent of respondents found one or both robots easier to use than they had expected, and 91% found that one or both robots made simple surgical tasks easier compared to standard laparoscopy. Sixty-four percent of participants stated that they were more likely to pursue purchase of a robotic system for use in their practice as a result of their exposure to robotics in the Learning Center. After completing the Robotics Station, 80% of surgeons believed that current surgical robots are of clinical benefit. However, 71% of participants stated that surgical robotic systems priced above $500,000 would not be financially viable in their practices.


The structured learning environment used in the SAGES Learning Center fostered among participants a positive attitude toward surgical robotics. The format of their exposure to this technology at the Robotics Station also enabled participants to gauge the potential financial value of surgical robots in clinical practice. The SAGES Learning Center Robotics Station succeeded in exposing surgeons to surgical robotics in a way that helped them assess the value of this technology for their individual practices and institutions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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