Effect of mental training on short-term psychomotor skill acquisition in laparoscopic surgery - a pilot study

Mohammad K. Riaz (Lead / Corresponding author), Abdul Muiz Shariffuddin, Benjie Tang, Afshin Alijani

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Aim: The mental demands of laparoscopic surgery create a steep learning curve for surgical trainees. Experienced surgeons informally conduct mental training prior to starting a complex laparoscopic procedure. Reconstructing haptic feedback to mentally observe surgeon-instrument-tissue interaction is considered to be acquired only with experience. An experiment was devised to implement mental training for the haptic feedback reconstruction and its effect on laparoscopic task performance was observed.

Methods: Twenty laparoscopy novice medical students with normal/corrected visual acuity and normal hearing were randomised into two groups. Both groups were asked to apply a pre-established consistent force by means of retracting a laparoscopic grasper fixed to an electronic weight scale. Studied group underwent mental training while control group conducted a laparoscopic task as a distraction exercise. Accuracy of the task performance was measured as primary outcome. Performance between dominant and non-dominant hands was the secondary outcome.

Results: Baseline assessment of both dominant and non-dominant hands between groups were similar (P > 0.05). Mental training group improved their performance (0.66 ± 0.04) vs. (1.06 ± 0.14) with dominant hand (P < 0.01) and (0.73 ± 0.04) vs. (1.10 ± 0.20) with non-dominant hand (P < 0.05), when compared with control group.

Conclusion: In a laparoscopic task performance, skill transfer is significantly accurate if mental haptic feedback reconstruction is achieved through mental training.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMini-invasive Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2018


  • Mental training
  • target force
  • haptic feedback


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