DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.012 ISSN:

633 Are Laparoscopic Skills Transferable to Robotic Assisted Surgery? A Systematic Review

K Behera, L Smith, G McKnight, A Coxon, J Horwood, J Cornish, M Davies, J Torkington, J Ansell
  • Surgery



Surgical education programs are being developed to incorporate robotic technical skills training into pre-existing curricula. With limited availability of robotic training platforms, the aim of this paper was to determine if laparoscopic training can facilitate the acquisition of robotic surgical skills.


A search was conducted using PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane databases according to PRISMA guidelines. Original articles evaluating the transferability of laparoscopic skills into robotic surgery were included across multiple surgical specialities. Non-peer reviewed papers, conference s, and single surgeon’s experience were excluded. The primary outcome was skills transfer, secondary outcomes included; the level of participant experience, tasks performed and assessment tools used.


17 papers were included. 9 (53%) showed good evidence for skill transfer from laparoscopic to robotic surgery, 7 (41%) reported no significant difference. 1 (6%) paper demonstrated prior laparoscopic training had a positive impact on robotic skill but this was diminished for senior trainees. The majority of studies compared residents at different stages of training. All papers assessed simulator surgical specific tasks. There was limited standardisation of assessment processes. No papers assessed tasks in real-life surgical practice.


Evidence exists to suggest that laparoscopic skills are transferable to robotic surgery in a simulation environment. This is particularly evident for surgical novices and less so for experienced laparoscopists. This could potentially enable the use of established laparoscopic training as a means of reducing the robotic learning curve. Further work is needed to assess laparoscopic to robotic skills transfer in a real-world setting.

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