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Training in laparoscopic surgery seems to be an important aspect in gaining and maintaining professional competency. In experimental settings, camera navigation skills improved after simulation-based training, but the effect of camera work on the surgeon's performance is not well studied. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a fixed camera or an operated camera, as well as the experience of the camera operator has an effect on the performance of the surgeon. The study was performed on the LapSim laparoscopic training system. The task was to tie an intracorporal knot in a static surgical environment with three different camera conditions: fixed camera, camera operated by an inexperienced person (inexpert camera), and camera operated by an experienced surgeon (expert camera). The camera conditions were counterbalanced across trials. Performance variables were completion time in seconds and the extend of movements in path length and angular pathway. Gaze behavior was measured with eye-tracking glasses worn by the surgeon as well as the camera operator and was evaluated for performance-harming effects. Completion time varied across conditions, with participants performing significantly longer in the fixed camera condition than in the expert or the inexpert condition. The expert and inexpert conditions did not differ. The performance-harming effect of non-focusing on the tissue was especially visible in the fixed camera condition but disappeared in the expert camera condition. Neither the camera operators' gaze behavior nor the surgeon-camera operator fixation agreement predicted task performance. A camera operator can potentially eliminate performance-harming effects of maladaptive gaze behavior and promote optimal visual behavior of a surgeon. In our experimental task, there was no significant difference in whether the camera operator had previous training in laparoscopic surgery or not.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of laparoendoscopic & advanced surgical techniques. Part A
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