Visual spatial ability for surgical trainees: implications for learning endoscopic, laparoscopic surgery and other image-guided procedures

  • Patrick Henn
  • Anthony G. Gallagher
  • Emmeline Nugent
  • Neal E. Seymour
  • Randy S. Haluck
  • Hazem Hseino
  • Oscar Traynor
  • Paul C. Neary
Article
  • 26 Downloads

Abstract

Background

In image-guided procedures, a high level of visual spatial ability may be an advantage for surgical trainees. We assessed the visual spatial ability of surgical trainees.

Methods

Two hundred and thirty-nine surgical trainees and 61 controls were tested on visual spatial ability using 3 standardised tests, the Card Rotation, Cube Comparison and Map-Planning Tests.

Results

Two hundred and twenty-one, 236 and 236 surgical trainees and 61 controls completed the Card Rotation test, Cube Comparison test and Map-Planning test, respectively. Two percent of surgical trainees performed statistically significantly worse than their peers on card rotation and map-planning test, > 1% on Cube Comparison test. Surgical trainees performed statistically significantly better than controls on all tests.

Conclusions

Two percent of surgical trainees performed statistically significantly worse than their peers on visual spatial ability. The implication of this finding is unclear, further research is required that can look at the learning and educational portfolios of these trainees who perform poorly on visual spatial ability, and ascertain if they are struggling to learn skills for image-guided procedures.

Keywords

Image-guided surgery Visual spatial aptitude Assessment 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Disclosures

Patrick Henn, Anthony G Gallagher, Emmeline Nugent, Neal E Seymour, Randy S Haluck, Hazem Hseino, Oscar Traynor and Paul C Neary have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was granted by the Research Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. All participants gave informed and written consent to have any data collected as part of the assessment process analysed and used for research purposes.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Application of Science to Simulation based Education and Research (ASSERT) Centre, School of MedicineUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  2. 2.National Surgical Training CentreRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublinIreland
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryTufts University School of MedicineSpringfieldUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryPennsylvania State UniversityHersheyUSA
  5. 5.Department of Surgery, Tallaght Hospital, Trinity CollegeUniversity of DublinDublinIreland

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