The Effects of Double Gloving on Microsurgical Skills

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To determine whether double gloving would negatively affect participants’ ability to perform a simulated microsurgical task.

Study Design

Randomized single-blinded controlled crossover trial.


Temporal bone laboratory of an academic otolaryngology department.

Subjects and Methods

This study involved the simulated insertion of a stapes prosthesis into a model of the ossicular chain under microscopy. Forty-one participants were recruited from our medical and dental school and randomized into 2 groups. All groups began by performing the task without gloves, acting as their own control arm. The first group (A) then performed the task with a single pair of gloves while the second group (B) next performed the task with 2 pairs of gloves. The groups then switched gloving methods. The total time taken to perform the task was recorded for each participant and the results subjected to a series of statistical measures.


This study found a statistically significant difference in the average time taken to complete the task between the “no-glove” arm of the study and both experimental groups but no difference between the 2 experimental groups. Likewise, no significant difference was found between the 2 experimental groups when comparing the rate at which they improved at performing the task.


These data suggest that wearing 2 pairs of surgical gloves does not negatively affect the speed at which a microsurgical procedure may be performed, lending support to the practice of double gloving, even in the setting of microsurgical fine motor tasks.

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