The correlation between fundamental characteristics and first-time performance in laparoscopic tasks

This study was presented at the 2017 Association of Surgical Education Annual Meeting, San Diego, California.
Published: The American Journal of Surgery, Volume 215, Issue 4, April 2018, Pages 618-624
BACKGROUND: The ability of characteristics to predict first time performance in laparoscopic tasks is not well described. Videogame experience predicts positive performance in laparoscopic experiences but its mechanism and confounding-association with aptitude remains to be elucidated. This study sought to evaluate for innate predictors of laparoscopic performance in surgically naive individuals with minimal videogame exposure.
METHODS: Participants with no prior laparoscopic exposure and minimal videogaming experience were recruited consecutively from preclinical years at a medical university. Participants completed four visuospatial, one psychomotor aptitude test and an electronic survey, followed by four laparoscopic tasks on a validated Virtual Reality simulator (LAP Mentor™).
RESULTS: Twenty eligible individuals participated with a mean age of 20.8 (±3.8) years. Significant intra-aptitude performance correlations were present amongst 75% of the visuospatial tests. These visuospatial aptitudes correlated significantly with multiple laparoscopic task metrics: number of movements of a dominant instrument (rs ≥ −0.46), accuracy rate of clip placement (rs ≥ 0.50) and time taken (rs ≥ −0.47) (p < 0.05). Musical Instrument experience predicted higher average speed of instruments (rs ≥ 0.47) (p < 0.05). Participant’s revised competitive index level predicted lower proficiency in laparoscopic metrics including: pathlength, economy and number of movements of dominant instrument (rs ≥ 0.46) (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Multiple visuospatial aptitudes and innate competitive level influenced baseline laparoscopic performances across several tasks in surgically naïve individuals.