Does the method of visualization impact the performance of a new surgical task in novice subjects?


Department of Neurosurgery, Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute, Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center


INTRODUCTION: Evolution of optical technology from two-dimensional to three-dimensional (3D) systems has come with an associated loss of stereoscopy and 3D depth perception. This report compares performance of surgical tasks in unbiased subjects using these systems.

METHODS: Untrained subjects were randomized into two groups, robotically operated video optical telescopic-microscope (ROVOT) or surgical microscope (microscope). Subjects sutured and tied knots. Completion time, NASA-Task Load Index (TLX), and galvanic skin responses were analyzed.

RESULTS: Intergroup analysis of suture completion time indicated that microscope use was significantly faster compared to ROVOT, whether used first or second. Regardless of which methodology was used first, the second modality was faster, indicating a transfer effect. NASA-TLX indicated that mental, performance, effort, and frustration were all greater with ROVOT.

CONCLUSION: Task completion time and perceived effort were greater with ROVOT. Task completion times improved with repetition regardless of visual modality.

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