Send to

Choose Destination
J Surg Educ. 2015 Sep-Oct;72(5):910-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2015.04.023. Epub 2015 Jun 15.

Objective Surgical Skill Assessment: An Initial Experience by Means of a Sensory Glove Paving the Way to Open Surgery Simulation?

Author information

Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.
Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.
Biostatistics office, L'altrastatistica srl-Consultancy & Training, Rome, Italy.



Simulation and training in surgery are very promising tools for enhancing a surgeon's skill base. Accurate tracking of hand movements can be a strategy for objectively gauging a surgeon's dexterity, although "open" work is much more difficult to evaluate than are laparoscopic tasks. To the authors' knowledge, a system taking into account the movements of each finger joint has never been applied to open surgery simulation. This work intends to make up for this shortcoming and to perform a data analysis of the surgeon's entire gesture.


The authors developed a sensory glove to measure flexion/extension of each finger joint and wrist movement. Totally 9 experts and 9 novices performed a basic suturing task and their manual performances were recorded within 2 days of measurements. Intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the ability of the executors to repeat and reproduce the proposed exercise. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests and Mann-Whitney U-tests were used to determine whether the 2 groups differ significantly in terms of execution time, repeatability, and reproducibility. Finally, a questionnaire was used to gather operators' subjective opinions.


The experts needed a similar reduced execution time comparing the 2 recording sessions (p = 0.09), whereas novices spent more time during the first day (p = 0.01). Repeatability did not differ between the 2 days, either for experts (p = 0.26) or for novices (p = 0.86). The 2 groups performed differently in terms of time (p < 0.001), repeatability (p = 0.01), and reproducibility (p < 0.001) of the same gesture. The system showed an overall moderate repeatability (intraclass correlation coefficient: experts = 0.64; novices = 0.53) and an overall high reproducibility. The questionnaire revealed performers' positive feedback with the glove.


This initial experience confirmed the validity and reliability of the proposed system in objectively assessing surgeons' technical skill, thus paving the way to a more complex project involving open surgery simulation.


Medical Knowledge; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; Professionalism; Systems-Based Practice; assessment; education; open surgery; sensory glove; skill

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center