Background: The percentage of female medical students has been significant elevating worldwide. The demographic shift is expected to influence the proportion of male versus female surgeons soon. The objective of this study was to evaluate the gender differences in the acquisition of robotic suturing skills. Methods: We compared the robotic suturing performance between 39 male and 19 female medical students. We separated the training into two parts: phase I, involving virtual reality (VR) robotic simulation, and phase II, involving robotic dry-laboratory simulation training. Participants first conducted step-by-step exercises on the VR robotic simulator and then the robotic skin-suturing pad using the da Vinci robot. Results: The metric analysis of the VR task “suture sponge” showed that female students required less time (difference: −170.7 seconds, 95% CI: −247.4 to −94.0) and had fewer errors (error difference: −50, 95% CI: −74.2 to −25.8) to complete the suture sponge exercise compared to male students. Moreover, female students completed more stitches than male students (differences in mean stitch achieved:. 35; 95% CI:. 06 to. 65). However, there was no difference in the quality scores of stitches by gender (p = 0.85). Conclusion: Female medical students performed better in the VR task of suture spongy and achieved more stitches than male students with the da Vinci system despite no difference in robotic suture quality by gender. Because this is the first study comparing gender performance on a robotic platform, further studies are required to investigate if different training approaches will affect the performance by gender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-470
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number1 Pt 3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Gender difference
  • Medical education
  • Robotic surgery
  • Simulation
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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