• Curriculum;
  • education;
  • learning;
  • robotic surgery;
  • training

Please cite this paper as: Schreuder H, Wolswijk R, Zweemer R, Schijven M, Verheijen R. Training and learning robotic surgery, time for a more structured approach: a systematic review. BJOG 2012;119:137–149.

Background  Robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery is growing rapidly and there is an increasing need for a structured approach to train future robotic surgeons.

Objectives  To review the literature on training and learning strategies for robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery.

Search strategy  A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library and the Journal of Robotic Surgery was performed.

Selection criteria  We included articles concerning training, learning, education and teaching of robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery in any specialism.

Data collection and analysis  Two authors independently selected articles to be included. We categorised the included articles into: training modalities, learning curve, training future surgeons, curriculum design and implementation.

Main results  We included 114 full text articles. Training modalities such as didactic training, skills training (dry lab, virtual reality, animal or cadaver models), case observation, bedside assisting, proctoring and the mentoring console can be used for training in robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery. Several training programmes in general and specific programmes designed for residents, fellows and surgeons are described in the literature. We provide guidelines for development of a structured training programme.

Authors’ conclusions  Robotic surgical training consists of system training and procedural training. System training should be formally organised and should be competence based, instead of time based. Virtual reality training will play an import role in the near future. Procedural training should be organised in a stepwise approach with objective assessment of each step. This review aims to facilitate and improve the implementation of structured robotic surgical training programmes.