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Anat Sci Educ. 2014 Jul-Aug;7(4):295-301. doi: 10.1002/ase.1412. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Spatial visualization ability and laparoscopic skills in novice learners: evaluating stereoscopic versus monoscopic visualizations.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Corps for Research of Instructional and Perceptual Technologies, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.


Elevated spatial visualization ability (Vz) is thought to influence surgical skill acquisition and performance. Current research suggests that stereo visualization technology and its association with skill performance may confer perceptual advantages. This is of particular interest in laparoscopic skill training, where stereo visualization may confer learning advantages to novices of variant Vz. This study explored laparoscopic skill performance scores in novices with variable spatial ability utilizing stereoscopic and traditional monoscopic visualization paradigms. Utilizing the McGill Inanimate System for Teaching and Evaluating Laparoscopic Skills (MISTELS) scoring protocol it was hypothesized that individuals with high spatial visualization ability (HVz) would achieve higher overall and individual MISTELS task scores as compared to low spatial visualization ability (LVz) counterparts. Further, we also hypothesized that a difference would exist between HVz and LVz individual scores based on the viewing modality employed. No significant difference was observed between HVz and LVz individuals for MISTELS tasks scores, overall or individually under both viewing modalities, despite higher average MISTELS scores for HVz individuals. The lack of difference between scores obtained under the stereo modality suggested that the additional depth that is conferred by the stereoscopic visualization may act to enhance performance for individuals with LVz, potentially equilibrating their performance with their HVz peers. Further experimentation is required to better ascertain the effects of stereo visualization in individuals of high and low Vz, though it appears stereoscopic visualizations could serve as a prosthetic to enhance skill performance.


MISTELS; Vz; laparoscopy; spatial visualization ability; stereo; surgical skills; visualization

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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