Robotic surgery in gynecologic oncology: Impact on fellowship training

Anna V. Hoekstra*, Jacqueline M. Morgan, John R. Lurain, Barbara M. Buttin, Diljeet K. Singh, Julian C. Schink, M. Patrick Lowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objectives: To report the impact of a new robotic surgery program on the surgical training of gynecologic oncology fellows over a 12 month period of time. Methods: A robotic surgery program was introduced into the gynecologic oncology fellowship program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in June 2007. A database of patients undergoing surgical management of endometrial and cervical cancer between July 2007 and July 2008 was collected and analyzed. Changes in fellow surgical training were measured and analyzed. Results: Fellow surgical training for endometrial and cervical cancer underwent a dramatic transition in 12 months. The proportion of patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery increased from 3.3% (4/110 patients) to 43.5% (47/108 patients). Fellow training transitioned from primarily an open approach (94.4%) to a minimally invasive approach (11% laparoscopic, 49% robotic, 40% open) for endometrial cancer stagings, and from an open approach (100%) to an open (50%) and robotic (50%) approach for radical hysterectomies. Fellow participation in robotic procedures increased from 45% in the first 3 months to 72% within 6 months, and 92% by 12 months. The role of the fellow in robotic cases transitioned from bedside assistant to console operator within 3 months. Conclusions: Fellow surgical training underwent a dramatic change with the introduction of a robotic surgery program. The management of endometrial and cervical cancer was impacted the most by robotics. Robotic surgery broadened fellowship surgical training, but balanced surgical training and standardized fellow training modules remain challenges for fellowship programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-172
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009


  • Cervical
  • Endometrial
  • Fellowship
  • Robotics
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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