Original article

Surgical Endoscopy And Other Interventional Techniques

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 101-104

First online:

Predicting baseline laparoscopic surgery skills

  • A. K. MadanAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center Email author 
  • , C. T. FrantzidesAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Evanston Northwestern
  • , W. C. ParkAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Rush University
  • , C. L. TebbitAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Rush University
  • , N. V. A. KumariAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Rush University
  • , P. J. O’LearyAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Rush University

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Laparoscopic surgery requires specialized dexterity even beyond that required for open surgery. Decreased tactile feedback, different eye–hand coordination, and translation of a two-dimensional video image into a three-dimensional working area are just some of the obstacles in the performance of laparoscopic surgery. Possession of certain nonsurgical skills may help in overcoming some of these obstacles. Prediction of baseline laparoscopic surgery skills may help further to refine the education of basic laparoscopic surgery skills. This investigation explores whether nonsurgical skills and demographic data can predict baseline laparoscopic surgery tasks.


First- and second-year students were given a survey regarding nonsurgical dexterity skills. The survey inquired about typing skills, play with computer games, ability to sew, skill with music instruments, use of chopsticks, and experience operating tools. Demographic data were requested as well. All the students underwent four tasks: placing a piece of bowel in a retrieval bag, placing a stapler on the bowel, measuring a piece of bowel, and performing a liver biopsy in a porcine animal model. Both objective (time and error) and subjective evaluation were assessed for all the tasks. Statistical analysis using analysis of variances (ANOVA) Kruskal–Wallis test with post hoc tests, two-tailed unpaired t-tests/Mann–Whitney test, and Fischer’s exact tests/chi-square tests was performed when appropriate.


There were 68 students in this investigation. Gender, medical student year, ethnicity, desire to enter a surgical field, and age were not associated with increased performance in any of the tasks. Chopstick use was associated with statistically significantly better mean time in placing a piece of bowel in a retrieval bag and measuring a piece of bowel (p < 0.04). The other nonsurgical dexterity skills did not statistically increase performance, as indicated by time, errors, or subjective scores, for the four tasks.


It is difficult to predict baseline laparoscopic surgery skills.


Laparoscopy Surgery Technical skill Education