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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Investigating the impact of innate dexterity skills and visuospatial aptitude on the performance of baseline laparoscopic skills in veterinary students

Mathew R A MacCormick, Jessica J Kilkenny, Meagan Walker, Alex Zur Linden, Ameet Singh
Veterinary Surgery: VS 2017 September 11
28892186

OBJECTIVE: To determine if manual dexterity and visuospatial skills can be used to predict baseline laparoscopic surgery skills in veterinary students.

STUDY DESIGN: Pilot study.

METHODS: Veterinary students (n = 45) from years 1-4 volunteered for this study. An hour-long electronic questionnaire was completed by participants. The first section was used to collect demographics and information about prior nonsurgical experiences. The second section included 3 tests of visuospatial skills, including the Purdue Visualization of Rotations Test, Mental Rotations Test, and Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices Test. Multiple tests were administered to assess innate dexterity, including the grooved pegboard test, indirect and direct zigzag tracking tests, and the 3Dconnexion proficiency test. Each dexterity test was performed once with the left hand and once with the right hand. The order of task performance was randomized. Basic laparoscopic skills were assessed using the validated fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) peg transfer task.

RESULTS: There was an association between left-handed grooved pegboard scores (95% CI -10046.36 to -1636.53, P-value = .008) and left-handed indirect zigzag tracking task (95% CI -35.78 to -8.20, P-value = .003) with FLS peg transfer scores. Individuals who reported playing videogames achieved higher scores on the FLS peg transfer task than those without videogame experience (95% CI 583.59 to 3509.97, P-value = .007).

CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that dexterity was a better predictor of baseline laparoscopic skills than visuospatial skills in veterinary students.

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