Universal masking is required at LHSC facilities. View our current COVID-19 measures.

Canada’s official robotic surgery training centre is operational

June 18, 2013

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC)  was recently selected by Intuitive Surgical Inc. – manufacturer of the world’s most sophisticated and widely used surgical robot, the da Vinci Surgical System – as the exclusive training centre for robotic surgery in Canada.  Offered through LHSC’s Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics (CSTAR) program, training has now commenced for surgeons who will travel to London from across Canada and beyond to learn the very latest surgical robotic techniques.  

“Earning the designation as Canada’s sole training centre for robotic surgery is a tremendous honour for LHSC and reinforces our position as a world-class centre for surgical innovation and research,” said Bonnie Adamson, President and CEO of LHSC. “The depth of experience and talent that resides within our CSTAR program is now being leveraged to train surgeons from across Canada in the use of the newest generation da Vinci Surgical System.  Most importantly, as a result of this training, patients from coast to coast will have more access to minimally invasive procedures, which inevitably will lead to better patient outcomes.”

In the first week, three surgeons trained at LHSC. “Each surgeon receives a full day of training on the da Vinci Surgical System,” says Dr. Lara Murphy, da Vinci trainer, LHSC. Surgeons are able to familiarize themselves with the equipment and practice the movement of the robotic arms and camera before practicing surgery on tissue. Surgeons will be trained to use the system for urology, gynecology, and upper and lower gastrointestinal surgery for both adult and paediatric patients. “In the future, we plan to add training programs for cardiac and ear, nose and throat surgeries.”

Before the surgeons arrive at LHSC, they observe robotic surgeries in their own hospitals and complete an online training module and exam about the robot. After their training at LHSC they will return to their own hospital and begin to perform surgeries under the supervision of expert proctors.

Surgical teams coordinate training through Minogue Medical, distributors of the da Vinci Surgical System, who then arrange the training at LHSC. “There is a demand across Canada for this specialized training that provides patients another surgical option,” says Judy Liwanpo, surgical robotics and clinical specialist, Minogue Medical.

“Our goal is to help make this technology available to as many Canadian patients as possible by training every surgeon in Canada who is interested in robotic surgery,” says Dr. Christopher Schlachta, medical director, CSTAR. “We will have the capacity to train 100 surgeons a year and that number could increase when we open up to American and international surgeons.”

The national training centre at LHSC will build upon CSTAR’s proven legacy of improving the safety and quality of patient care through surgical innovation.

First robotic surgery training sessions at LHSC’s CSTAR facilities.

From left, Dr. Lara Murphy, da Vinci trainer, LHSC, Lynn Loewen, COO, Minogue Medical, Phil Hunt, director, CSTAR, Dr. Christopher Schlachta, medical director, CSTAR, Carol Mackin-Uecker, training director, Intuitive Surgical Inc., Vanessa Owens, director of sales, Canada, Australia, Latin America, Intuitive Surgical Inc., and Danny Minogue, President and CEO, Minogue Medical Inc. coordinate the first robotic surgery training sessions at LHSC’s CSTAR facilities.