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Skills evaluation in minimally invasive surgery using force/torque signatures



Skills evaluation in minimally invasive surgery using force/torque signatures



Surgical Endoscopy 14(9): 791-798



One of the more difficult tasks in surgical education is to teach the optimal application of instrument forces and torques necessary to facilitate the conduct of an operation. For laparoscopic surgery, this type of training has traditionally taken place in the operating room, reducing operating room efficiency and potentially affecting the safe conduct of the operation. The objective of the current study was to measure and compare forces and torques (F/T) applied at the tool/hand interface generated during laparoscopic surgery by novice (NS) and experienced (ES) surgeons using an instrumented laparoscopic grasper and to use this data for evaluating the skill level. Ten surgeons (five-NS, five-ES) performed a cholecystectomy and Nissen fundoplication in a porcine model. An instrumented laparoscopic grasper with interchangeable standard surgical tips equipped with a three-axis F/T sensor located at the proximal end of the grasper tube was used to measure the F/T at the hand/tool interface. In addition, one axis force sensor located at the grasper's handle was used to measure the grasping force. F/T data synchronized with visual view of the tool operative maneuvers were collected simultaneously via a novel graphic user interface incorporated picture-in-picture video technology. Subsequent frame-by-frame video analysis of the operation allowed a definition of states associated with different tool/tissue interactions within each step of the operation. F/T measured within each state were further analyzed using vector quantization (VQ). The VQ analysis defines characteristic sets of F/T in the database that were defined as F/T signature. The magnitude of F/T applied by NS and ES were significantly different (p < 0.05) and varied based on the task being performed. Higher F/T magnitudes were applied by NS than by ES when performing tissue manipulation, whereas lower F/T magnitudes were applied by NS than by ES during tissue dissection. Furthermore, the time to complete the surgical procedure was longer for NS by a factor of 1.5-4.8 when compared to the time for ES. State analysis suggests that most of this time is consumed in an [idle] state, in which movements of the surgeon make no tissue contact. Preliminary data suggest that F/T magnitudes associated with the tool/tissue interactions provide an objective means of distinguishing novices from skilled surgeons. Clinical F/T analysis using the proposed technology and methodology may be helpful in training, developing surgical simulators, and measuring technical proficiency during laparoscopic surgery.

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Accession: 047381344

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11000356

DOI: 10.1007/s004640000230


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