Training residents in robotic thoracic surgery

Evan T. Alicuben, Sean C. Wightman, Kimberly A. Shemanski, Elizabeth A. David, Scott M. Atay, Anthony W. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


With growing integration of robotic technology in thoracic surgery, the need for structured training has never been greater with trainees expressing desire for additional experience. Determining the ideal education program is challenging as the collective experience is still relatively early and growing with many experienced surgeons still becoming facile with the platform. Understanding differences between robotic and thoracoscopic approaches including lung retraction and dissection, use of carbon dioxide insufflation, and lack of tactile feedback serves as the foundation for building a skillset. Currently, there is no standard accepted curriculum for residents. Inclusion of these trainees in structured programs has been shown to be safe with equivalent patient outcomes. There are multiple curricula under development, all of which incorporate use of simulation technology, dual console, and clear, graduated responsibilities within operations. These include introduction to the robotic system prior to progressing to bedside assistance and finally to time as console surgeon. The importance of clear definition of training milestones with deliberate graduation to more complex tasks once competency has been demonstrated cannot be overstated. It is crucial for surgeons practicing robotic surgery to make efforts to further the training of residents, but there has not been any perfect and suitable program identified yet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6169-6178
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Residency training
  • Robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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