Medical students gain experience in the latest robotic surgery

Dr Esther Moss and Medical student Daniel Peck with the Da Vinci Xi

Budding surgeons of the future have been gaining experience on the latest surgical robotic equipment.

The Da Vinci Xi is one of the most advanced robotic surgical systems in the world, enabling complex and delicate keyhole surgery and is used in many specialties including gynaecology, colorectal, thoracic, head and neck and urological surgeries. 

Now students at the University of Leicester have had the opportunity to experience using the surgeon console and performing training exercises on the state of the art of equipment, which has been made available by manufacturer, Intuitive.

Dr Esther Moss, Associate Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at the University said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience being in the position of the robotic surgeon.

“Robotic surgery allows for 3D viewing and it can reduce tremor, compared with conventional keyhole, known as laparoscopic surgery. We are conducting a study that is looking at the range of movements needed to perform surgical tasks robotically and laparoscopically, since there is growing concern over the rising number of injuries that surgeons are reporting as a result of performing long and complex laparoscopic surgery cases.

“We hope that the medical students will enjoy this unique opportunity to undertake training exercises on the robotic and laparoscopic equipment and that it will encourage them to consider a surgical career.”

One such student who has already had the chance to perform training exercises on the robot is Daniel Peck.

The 23-year-old Medical student has just finished his fourth year and said: “It’s a great opportunity to be able to test this out and learn what it could really be like performing surgery using the latest techniques – it’s something I’m seriously interested in so to have this experience is really interesting.” 

Fellow Medical student Sahana Muthuswamy, 23, also undertook the training exercises.

“It’s really amazing to have something like this here at the University. Surgery is such a skill but you can see that with practice it would become much easier. Being able to test it out and see what it takes to be a surgeon is fascinating,” she said. 

Dr Moss, a gynaecological cancer surgeon, is currently leading the study called ISSUE (Impact of minimally invasive surgery on the surgeon) alongside Professor Massimiliano Zecca from Loughborough University, a specialist in Healthcare Technology. 

Dr Moss said: “Our study is collecting real world data that will be used to support surgeons not only to look after the health of their patients but also to look after their own health. We hope that the results will inform surgical training programmes of the future so that mitigating measures can be put in place to reduce the risk of surgeon injuries.”