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Surg Endosc. 2006 May;20(5):824-9. Epub 2006 Feb 27.

Robotic surgery and training: electromyographic correlates of robotic laparoscopic training.

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University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182, USA.



Robotic laparoscopic surgery has been shown to decrease task completion time, reduce errors, and decrease training time, as compared with manual laparoscopic surgery. However, current literature has not addressed the physiologic effects, in particular muscle responses, to training with a robotic surgical system. The authors seek to determine the frequency response of electromyographic (EMG) signals of specific arm and hand muscles with training using the da Vinci Surgical System.


Seven right-handed medical students were trained in three tasks with the da Vinci Surgical System over 4 weeks. These subjects, along with eight control subjects, were tested before and after training. Electromyographic (EMG) signals were collected from four arm and hand muscles during the testing sessions, and the median EMG frequency and bandwidth were computed.


The median frequency and frequency bandwidth both were increased after training for two of the three tasks.


The results suggest that training reduces muscle fatigue as a result of faster and more deliberate movements. These changes occurred predominantly in muscles that were the dominant muscles for each task, whereas the more demanding task recruited more diverse motor units. An evaluation of the physiologic demands of robotic laparoscopic surgery using electromyography can provide us with a meaningful quantitative way to examine performance and skill acquisition.

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