Purpose: Standard laparoscopy has undergone many recent advances with the advent of three-dimensional visual systems and robotic surgical systems. In evaluating the usefulness of these new systems, it is difficult to objectively measure their advantages in the operating room. Therefore, we designed a trial using three different laparoscopic modalities to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each modality. Materials and Methods: Twenty-seven subjects were entered into the study. Three different laparoscopic modalities were tested. These included standard laparoscopy with two-dimensional cameras, the 3Di Endosite visual system, and the daVinci Robotic Surgical System. A standard laparoscopic trainer was utilized and testing consisted of three different tasks peg transfer, ring manipulation, and cannulation. Results: Of the 27 subjects, 16 (60%) reported some degree of laparoscopic experience. The number of pegs transferred with standard laparoscopy and the Endosite 3Di system was significantly greater than with the robot. The number of errors committed during the peg transfer test and the amount of time required was significantly lower with the Endosite 3Di system compared to the robot. Subjects completed the ring manipulation task significantly faster with the robot, but the number of errors committed was no different among the three modalities. Subjects were able to complete the cannulation task with their dominant hand significantly faster with the robot compared to the Endosite 3Di system or standard laparoscopy, and committed fewer errors using the robot compared to standard laparoscopy. Conclusions: This study showed improved performance using three-dimensional optics on some tasks, but not a significant improvement in overall results. Three-dimensional vision does appear beneficial during performance of some complex tasks. The wrist-like action of the robot improved performance on some tasks, while the lack of tactile feedback likely was a source of errors on other tasks.
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