Simulated laparoscopy using a head-mounted display vs traditional video monitor: an assessment of performance and muscle fatigue

  • S. K. Maithel
  • L. Villegas
  • N. Stylopoulos
  • S. Dawson
  • D. B. Jones
Original article



The direction of visual gaze may be an important ergonomic factor that affects operative performance. We designed a study to determine whether a head-mounted display (HMD) worn by the surgeon would improve task performance and/or reduce muscle fatigue during a laparoscopic task when compared to the use of a traditional video monitor display (VMD).


Surgical residents (n = 30) were enrolled in the study. A junior group, consisting of 15 postgraduate year (PGY) = 1 subjects with no previous laparoscopic experience, and a senior group, consisting of 15 PGY 4 and PGY 5 subjects with experience, completed a laparoscopic task that was repeated four times using the Computer Enhanced Laparoscopic Training System (CELTS). Groups alternated between using the HMD with the task placed in a downward frontal position and the VMD with the task at a 30° lateral angle. The CELTS module assessed task completion time, depth perception, path length of instruments, response orientation, motion smoothness; the system then generated an overall score. Electromyography (EMG) was used to record sternocleidomastoid muscle activity. Display preference was surveyed.


The senior residents performed better than the junior residents overall on all parameters (p < 0.05) except for motion smoothness, where there was no difference. In both groups, the HMD significantly improved motion smoothness when compared to the VMD (p < 0.05). All other parameters were equal. There was less muscle fatigue when using the VMD (p < 0.05). We found that 66% of the junior residents but only 20% of the senior residents preferred the HMD.


The CELTS module demonstrated evidence of construct validity by differentiating the performances of junior and senior residents. By aligning the surgeon’s visual gaze with the instruments, HMD improved smoothness of motion. Experienced residents preferred the traditional monitor display. Although the VMD produced less muscle fatigue, inexperienced residents preferred the HMD, possibly because of improved smoothness of motion.


Computer Enhanced Laparoscopic Training System (CELTS) Laparoscopy Ergonomics Visual gaze Electromyography (EMG) 



This work was supported in part by an educational grant from Stryker Endoscopy. We thank Dr. Sanjeev Nandedkar for help and guidance with EMG acquisition and analysis. We are also grateful to Amie Goldberg for help with statistical data analysis


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. K. Maithel
    • 1
    • 4
  • L. Villegas
    • 4
  • N. Stylopoulos
    • 2
  • S. Dawson
    • 2
    • 3
  • D. B. Jones
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Minimally Invasive SurgeryBeth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT)BostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Harvard Center for Minimally Invasive SurgeryBostonUSA

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