Psychomotor skills for endoscopic manipulations: differing abilities between right and left-handed individuals

George B. Hanna, Tim Drew, Peter Clinch, Sami Shimi, Peta Dunkley, Cathryn Hau, Alfred Cuschieri

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    Abstract

    Objective The objective of this study was to compare the psychomotor aptitudes relevant to endoscopic manipulations between right-handed and left-handed subjects.

    Summary Background Data There has been little research on the psychomotor performance in relation to minimal access surgery and there are no psychomotor tests to evaluate aspects of psychomotor abilities relevant to endoscopic manipulations.

    Methods A microprocessor-controlled psychomotor tester was developed for objective evaluation of endoscopic performance. The task involved negotiating ten target holes with a probe under videoscopic imaging. Subjects consisted of two groups of 10 medical students: right- and left-handed. After a prestudy familiarization session, each subject performed two test runs with one hand, followed by two runs with the other hand. These test runs were repeated 1 week later. The outcome measures were the total execution time, force on backplate, angular deviations, error rate, and first-time accuracy.

    Results A significant difference in the error rate and first time accuracy was observed between subjects (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively) and between the dominant and nondominant hands (p < 0.001 and p < 0.025, respectively), with no significant change with practice. Right-handed subjects performed better with either hand in terms of error rate (p < 0.001) and first time accuracy (p < 0.001). Practice improved the execution time (p < 0.001) and the degree of angular deviations (p < 0.02).

    Conclusions Right-handed subjects perform less errors and exhibit better first time accuracy. The parameters that improve with practice reflect the positive effect of training, whereas others, such as errors rate and first time accuracy which do not, reflect innate abilities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-338
    Number of pages6
    JournalAnnals of Surgery
    Volume225
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997

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