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ANZ J Surg. 2004 Jan-Feb;74(1-2):13-7.

Suturing efficiency during hiatal repair for laparoscopic fundoplication.

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  • 1University of Adelaide Department of Surgery, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.



An increasingly important part of general surgical training is the development of skills in advanced laparoscopic surgery. However, this aspect of laparoscopy is not always well taught, and there is scope for improving both training and the assessment of performance. Recently, the improved affordability and accessibility of digital video technology and supporting computer systems has enabled critical analysis of operative techniques in laparoscopic surgery to be carried out inexpensively. The aim of the present project was to develop a method for the objective analysis of a laparoscopic suturing task in the real clinical environment, so that surgeon-in-training performance could be objectively evaluated.


Eight videos of laparoscopic fundoplication procedures were used and the process of posterior hiatal repair was specifically analysed. The procedures were carried out by three operators, each with a different level of advanced laparoscopic experience. Two blinded assessors independently analysed the videos in 5-s intervals at two separate sittings. Analysis concentrated on the types of movements as well as their efficiency in progressing the task.


The total time taken for the posterior hiatal repair varied between 165 and 350 s (mean 240), and the mean number of actions was 42 (range 25-55). The mean percentage of efficiency (actions deemed 'very efficient' and 'efficient'vs actions deemed fair or inefficient) was 44% overall. More experienced surgeons took less time to complete the hiatal repair and had a higher percentage of efficiency of actions than inexperienced surgeons. Inefficient or unnecessary movements could be identified; these were less common for the more experienced surgeons.


Video deconstruction enabled critical analysis of hiatal suturing in advanced laparoscopic surgery, highlighting inefficient actions. This offers a method for objectively assessing technique using readily available equipment. The method could be used to provide constructive feedback to surgical trainees.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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