The literature supports that a surgeon should use the robot at least every 2 weeks in order to minimize degradation of skills. It is the consensus in robotic programs that 24 cases is the very minimum annually. The fact is, very few surgeons would feel comfortable revealing to their patients that they do less than 24 cases a year and still consider themselves an expert.
Low volume robotic surgeons WHO DO NOT COMMIT to robotics and simulation are well known to be less efficient with poorer clinical and financial outcomes. Both national benchmarking data as well as CAVAlytics data demonstrate the same. This fact is obvious: the more operations a surgeon performs, it would be expected that he or she would become faster and better. As simulation then progresses and evolves into procedural simulation (where actual operations on simulated tissue rather than skill drills are available), low volume surgeons should be able to maintain their skillset at a very high level despite the restricted access to actual, live tissue. The goals of higher surgeon quality with better financial and clinical outcomes are exactly what CAVA holds as our core objectives for our clients’ robotic programs.
Remember, however, that simulation is not a means to substitute for actual case experience but rather it is an alternative that is available that is unique to robotics. Most programs that have the minimal governance and a functional, active robotic program require BOTH simulation and case volume.