High-level visual-spatial ability for novices correlates with performance in a visual-spatial complex surgical simulator task

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This study addresses how high-level visual-spatial ability of surgical novices is related to performance of two simulator tasks with (KSA) and without (MIST) anatomic graphics and haptic feedback, differing in visual-spatial complexity.


Visual-spatial test scores assessed by Mental Rotation Test (MRT) and BasIQ and performance scores for Instrument Navigation (IN) in Key Surgical Activities (Procedicus KSA) and Manipulate and Diathermy (MD) in Minimally Invasive Surgical Trainer (Procedicus MIST) were correlated for 54 Swedish surgical novices.


Significant Pearson's r correlations were obtained between visual-spatial scores measured by MRT-C and total score from the last trial for IN (r = 0.278, p < 0.05). Visual-spatial scores (measured by BasIQ) also correlated with total score from the first trial (r = 0.443, p < 0.05) and from the last trial (r = 0.489, p < 0.05).


High-level visual-spatial ability is important for surgical novices to possess in the early training phase of a visual-spatial complex task in KSA.

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