A novel interface for the telementoring of robotic surgery

Daniel H. Shin, Leonard Dalag, Raed A. Azhar, Michael Santomauro, Raj Satkunasivam, Charles Metcalfe, Matthew Dunn, Andre Berger, Hooman Djaladat, Mike Nguyen, Mihir M. Desai, Monish Aron, Inderbir S. Gill, Andrew J. Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objective To prospectively evaluate the feasibility and safety of a novel, second-generation telementoring interface (Connect; Intuitive Surgical Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, USA) for the da Vinci robot. Materials and Methods Robotic surgery trainees were mentored during portions of robot-assisted prostatectomy and renal surgery cases. Cases were assigned as traditional in-room mentoring or remote mentoring using Connect. While viewing two-dimensional, real-time video of the surgical field, remote mentors delivered verbal and visual counsel, using two-way audio and telestration (drawing) capabilities. Perioperative and technical data were recorded. Trainee robotic performance was rated using a validated assessment tool by both mentors and trainees. The mentoring interface was rated using a multi-factorial Likert-based survey. The Mann-Whitney and t-tests were used to determine statistical differences. Results We enrolled 55 mentored surgical cases (29 in-room, 26 remote). Perioperative variables of operative time and blood loss were similar between in-room and remote mentored cases. Robotic skills assessment showed no significant difference (P > 0.05). Mentors preferred remote over in-room telestration (P = 0.05); otherwise no significant difference existed in evaluation of the interfaces. Remote cases using wired (vs wireless) connections had lower latency and better data transfer (P = 0.005). Three of 18 (17%) wireless sessions were disrupted; one was converted to wired, one continued after restarting Connect, and the third was aborted. A bipolar injury to the colon occurred during one (3%) in-room mentored case; no intraoperative injuries were reported during remote sessions. Conclusion In a tightly controlled environment, the Connect interface allows trainee robotic surgeons to be telementored in a safe and effective manner while performing basic surgical techniques. Significant steps remain prior to widespread use of this technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-308
Number of pages7
JournalBJU International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • mentors
  • minimally invasive
  • robotics
  • telemedicine
  • training techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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