A new standardized assessment provides a useful tool for following up on the updates and progress of surgeons as they develop the skills needed to perform robot-assisted microsurgery, says a study of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
“The Structured Assessment of Robotic Microsurgical Skills (SARMS) is the first validated instrument for assessing robotic microsurgical skills,” according to the report by ASPS Member Surgeon Dr Jesse C. Selber of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. Initial assessments using the SARMS show that, after a steep initial learning curve, surgical trainees display steady improvement in their ability to perform robot-assisted microsurgery tasks.
SARMS Tracks Development of Robotic Microsurgery Skills; The researchers describe the development and testing of the SARMS as a standard technique for uating technical skills for robot-assisted microsurgery. The SARMS consisted of 11 items”six uating microsurgery skills and five uating robotic skills.
After the SARMS was validated, expert surgeons used it to grade videos of surgical trainees performing robot-assisted microvascular anastomoses”joining and suturing tiny artificial blood vessels, just three millimeters in diameter. Each of nine trainees was graded on five videos, made as they gained experience with the robotic surgical system. Changes in scores in each area were assessed, along with the time required to complete the procedure.
The SARMS scores documented general improvement in microsurgical skills with each practice session. On a five-point scale”from “novice” to “expert””the trainees’ average ratings of overall skill and performance increased from around two to around four.
“The results showcased an initial steep ascent in advanced technical skill acquisition, followed by more improvement though slowly. Across the five sessions, average operative time decreased gradually, from about 30 to 19 minutes”.said Dr.Selber.