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Markov modeling of minimally invasive surgery based on tool/tissue interaction and force/torque signatures for evaluating surgical skills

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4 Author(s)
Rosen, J. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Washington Univ., Seattle, WA, USA ; Hannaford, B. ; Richards, C.G. ; Sinanan, M.N.

The best method of training for laparoscopic surgical skills is controversial. Some advocate observation in the operating room, while others promote animal and simulated models or a combination of surgery-related tasks. A crucial process in surgical education is to evaluate the level of surgical skills. For laparoscopic surgery, skill evaluation is traditionally performed subjectively by experts grading a video of a procedure performed by a student. By its nature, this process uses fuzzy criteria. The objective of the current study was to develop and assess a skill scale using Markov models (MMs). Ten surgeons [five novice surgeons (NS); five expert surgeons (ES)] performed a cholecystectomy and Nissen fundoplication in a porcine model. An instrumented laparoscopic grasper equipped with a three-axis force/torque (F/T) sensor was used to measure the forces/torques at the hand/tool interface synchronized with a video of the tool operative maneuvers. A synthesis of frame-by-frame video analysis and a vector quantization algorithm, allowed to define F/T signatures associated with 14 different types of tool/tissue interactions. The magnitude of F/T applied by NS and ES were significantly different (p<0.05) and varied based on the task being performed. High F/T magnitudes were applied by NS compared with ES while performing tissue manipulation and vice versa in tasks involved tissue dissection. From each step of the surgical procedures, two MMs were developed representing the performance of three surgeons out of the five in the ES and NS groups. The data obtained by the remaining two surgeons in each group were used for evaluating the performance scale. The final result was a surgical performance index which represented a ratio of statistical similarity between the examined surgeon's MM and the MM of NS and ES. The difference between the performance index value, for a surgeon under study, and the NS/ES boundary, indicated the level of expertise in the surgeon's own grou- - p. Preliminary data suggest that a performance index based on MM and F/T signatures provides an objective means of distinguishing NS from ES. In addition, this methodology can be further applied to evaluate haptic virtual reality surgical simulators for improving realism in surgical education.

Published in:

Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

May 2001

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