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Int Urogynecol J. 2013 Nov;24(11):1893-7. doi: 10.1007/s00192-013-2102-2. Epub 2013 May 3.

Trainee performance at robotic console and benchmark operative times.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, 3032 Old Clinic Building, Campus Box 7570, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, USA,



It is an ongoing challenge to maintain surgical efficiency while integrating trainee participation. We hypothesize that a program of graduated surgical responsibility for trainees does not hinder operative efficiency.


This was a retrospective cohort study of trainee performance times, collected prospectively in real time, for robotic cases performed at one university hospital between September 2008 and August 2011. The primary aim was to compare overall operative times between cases performed by trainees versus attendings. Secondary aims were to compare operative times for major portions of each operation by level of training and to establish benchmark operative times for trainees.


During the study period, 98 cases had recorded trainee performance times. Total robot docked time was longer for trainees than for attendings (155 vs 132 min, p = 0.011), but mean performance times for hysterectomy (70 vs 59 min, p = 0.096) and sacrocolpopexy (76 vs 79 min, p = 0.545) were similar. Within the trainees, there was no correlation between surgical time and rank for each step of the procedures. Utilizing mean performance times for all trainees, benchmark operative times were established for each step of hysterectomy in minutes: right side (21), left side (21), bladder flap (10), colpotomy (15), and cuff closure (19); similarly, for sacrocolpopexy: sacral and peritoneal dissection (12), anterior cuff dissection (10), posterior cuff dissection (8), anterior mesh attachment (15), posterior mesh attachment (18), sacral mesh attachment (12), and peritoneal closure (9).


In a program of graduated surgical responsibility, robotic operative efficiency was comparable when trainees were involved as console surgeons.

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