Face and Construct Validity of a Novel Virtual Reality–Based Bimanual Laparoscopic Force-Skills Trainer With Haptics Feedback

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Abstract

Background. The purpose of this study was to examine the face and construct validity of a custom-developed bimanual laparoscopic force-skills trainer with haptics feedback. The study also examined the effect of handedness on fundamental and complex tasks. Methods. Residents (n = 25) and surgeons (n = 25) performed virtual reality–based bimanual fundamental and complex tasks. Tool-tissue reaction forces were summed, recorded, and analysed. Seven different force-based measures and a 1-time measure were used as metrics. Subsequently, participants filled out face validity and demographic questionnaires. Results. Residents and surgeons were positive on the design, workspace, and usefulness of the simulator. Construct validity results showed significant differences between residents and experts during the execution of fundamental and complex tasks. In both tasks, residents applied large forces with higher coefficient of variation and force jerks (P < .001). Experts, with their dominant hand, applied lower forces in complex tasks and higher forces in fundamental tasks (P < .001). The coefficients of force variation (CoV) of residents and experts were higher in complex tasks (P < .001). Strong correlations were observed between CoV and task time for fundamental (r = 0.70) and complex tasks (r = 0.85). Range of smoothness of force was higher for the non-dominant hand in both fundamental and complex tasks. Conclusions. The simulator was able to differentiate the force-skills of residents and surgeons, and objectively evaluate the effects of handedness on laparoscopic force-skills. Competency-based laparoscopic skills assessment curriculum should be updated to meet the requirements of bimanual force-based training.

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