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Background: In the year 2021, the FreeHand robotic camera holder was introduced to a hospital in Trinidad & Tobago, amid strong opposition from postgraduate trainees who were concerned about diluted training opportunities. The aim of this study was to document trainees’ opinions on this surgical tool before and after its use.
Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was completed by surgical trainees who had the opportunity to use the surgical robot in laparoscopic operations. The questionnaire sought data on three specific aspects: impact on training, technical aspects and perceived value for training.
Results: Six trainees answered the questionnaire after using the robot. The number of trainees who believed the robot negatively impacted training reduced from 100% to 33%. All responders reported that head movements to control the robot were uncomplicated and the docked robot was not intrusive toward instrument movement. All were willing to support the use of the robot after having used the robot.
Conclusions: This survey has revealed that surgical residents’ opinions of the Freehand® robot dramatically changed after becoming familiar with its use. There is no valid reason that surgical trainees would be denied the opportunity to participate in an operation, once they have become facile with the robot.
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