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Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2018 Sep;13(9):1463-1472. doi: 10.1007/s11548-018-1792-9. Epub 2018 May 23.

A virtual pointer to support the adoption of professional vision in laparoscopic training.

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Department of Information Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD, 21250, USA.
Department of Information Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD, 21250, USA.
Department of Surgery, Anne Arundel Medical Center, 2001 Medical Pkwy, Annapolis, MD, 21401, USA.



To assess a virtual pointer in supporting surgical trainees' development of professional vision in laparoscopic surgery.


We developed a virtual pointing and telestration system utilizing the Microsoft Kinect movement sensor as an overlay for any imagine system. Training with the application was compared to a standard condition, i.e., verbal instruction with un-mediated gestures, in a laparoscopic training environment. Seven trainees performed four simulated laparoscopic tasks guided by an experienced surgeon as the trainer. Trainee performance was subjectively assessed by the trainee and trainer, and objectively measured by number of errors, time to task completion, and economy of movement.


No significant differences in errors and time to task completion were obtained between virtual pointer and standard conditions. Economy of movement in the non-dominant hand was significantly improved when using virtual pointer ([Formula: see text]). The trainers perceived a significant improvement in trainee performance in virtual pointer condition ([Formula: see text]), while the trainees perceived no difference. The trainers' perception of economy of movement was similar between the two conditions in the initial three runs and became significantly improved in virtual pointer condition in the fourth run ([Formula: see text]).


Results show that the virtual pointer system improves the trainer's perception of trainee's performance and this is reflected in the objective performance measures in the third and fourth training runs. The benefit of a virtual pointing and telestration system may be perceived by the trainers early on in training, but this is not evident in objective trainee performance until further mastery has been attained. In addition, the performance improvement of economy of motion specifically shows that the virtual pointer improves the adoption of professional vision- improved ability to see and use laparoscopic video results in more direct instrument movement.


Economy of movement; Expert knowledge; Gestural sensing; Kinect; Laparoscopic surgery; Professional vision; Surgical training; Virtual pointing and telestration system

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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