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Quantification of process measures in laparoscopic suturing

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Process measures describing the generation of movement are useful for evaluation and performance feedback purposes. This study aimed to identify process measures that differ between novice and advanced laparoscopists while completing a suturing skill.


A group of junior and a group of senior residents and fellows in surgery (n = 6) placed 10 laparoscopic sutures in a synthetic model. Process measures were quantified using an opto-electric motion/force sensor assembly that recorded: instrument rotation, applied forces, time, and time delays between force application and instrument rotation.


Advanced trainees showed increased instrument rotation, higher peak applied force, and faster performance compared to novices (all p < .01). However, over trials, only novices showed adaptations for instrument rotation and total time (interactions at p < .01) with no adaptation for the force application. The difference between the moments of force application and instrument rotation was not sensitive to participant training.


Movement process measures can enhance our understanding of early adaptation processes and how such factors might be used as feedback to facilitate skill acquisition.

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This research was supported by separate grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council awarded to A.D. and H.C.

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Correspondence to A. Dubrowski.

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Dubrowski, A., Larmer, J.C., Leming, J.K. et al. Quantification of process measures in laparoscopic suturing. Surg Endosc 20, 1862–1866 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-005-0759-4

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  • Movement
  • Forces
  • Surgical education
  • Evaluation
  • Technical skills