Original Communications| Volume 131, ISSUE 3, P318-323, March 2002

Relationship between skill and outcome in the laboratory-based model


      Background. Recent attention has been directed at developing quantitative assessments of surgical skill. This study aims to demonstrate whether objectively measuring differences in manual dexterity has an impact on a simulated surgical procedure. Methods. Six general surgical trainees performed 5 polytetrafluoroethylene graft to artery anastomoses on a vascular model by using a standardized technique. Manual dexterity was objectively measured with (1) electromagnetic motion analysis: trackers applied to the backs of hands recorded and analyzed both hand movements and procedural time and (2) 4-parameter evaluation of the final product. Outcome parameters were assessed by (1) rate of anastomotic leakage and (2) smallest cross-sectional area of the anastomosis. Results. The 2 objective measures of manual dexterity correlated closely (Pearson coefficient, 0.423; P <.02). Trainees with better manual dexterity scores produced better outcome measures. Those with better motion analysis scores produced anastomoses that leaked less (Pearson coefficient, 0.514; P <.01) and those with higher global evaluation scores had a larger anastomotic cross-sectional area (Pearson coefficient, 0.495; P <.01). Time taken for the procedure did not appear to influence either outcome measure. Conclusions. There is a significant correlation between objective measures of manual dexterity and the outcome measures in this model. This suggests that the outcome of a procedure can be predicted by measuring surgical skill. (Surgery 2002;131:318-23.)
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