Date: 11 Mar 2005

Hand dominance and performance in a laparoscopic skills curriculum

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This study evaluated the influence of hand dominance on skill acquisition during a basic laparoscopic skills curriculum.


A total of 27 surgical residents (5 postgraduate year 3 [PGY-3] and 22 PGY-2 residents) participated in a 4-week laparoscopic skills curriculum. The residents were pre- and posttested on six laparoscopic tasks during weeks 1 and 4. During weeks 2 and 3, the residents attended a proctored practice session. The results were compared using analysis of variance (ANOVA), (with significance determined by a p value less than 0.05.


The posttest scores were significantly higher than the pretest scores. On the pretest, lefthand–dominant (LHD) surgeons (n = 4) performed significantly better than righthand–dominant (RHD) surgeons (n = 23). In the analysis of individual task pretest scores, LHD surgeons performed significantly better on pattern cutting and vessel loop application. Posttest analysis of overall performance did not show significant differences between the RHD and LHD surgeons.


Participation in a laparoscopic skills curriculum improved overall performance. The LHD surgeons demonstrated better initial performance, but posttest comparison showed no difference between the two groups.

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Academic Surgery, Boston Massachusetts, 7–9 November 2002
Supported by an educational grant from United States Surgical Corporation, a division of Tyco Healthcare