Surgical recording device differentiates between novice, expert surgeons

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Researchers from the Keck Medicine of University of Southern California (USC) have found using a recording device during surgical procedures can differentiate between novice and expert surgeons. Findings, published in The Journal of Urology, aimed to improve the evaluation process of surgeon proficiency and standardizing credentialing.

Using the dVLogger recording device, researchers were able to capture anonymized video and movement data. The device can be attached to the da Vinci Surgical System, an FDA-approved robotic surgical platform for general laparoscopic surgery.

"Robotic surgery has been widely adopted by urologic surgeons, but methods of assessing proficiency vary widely between institutions," said lead author Andrew Hung, MD, assistant professor at USC. "In order to be credentialed by institutions to use the robotic system, surgeons must be evaluated by their peers for a handful of procedures, but the evaluations are not ongoing, and sometimes evaluators don't agree on what constitutes proficiency."

The study included data from 100 procedures on surgeon proficiency in performing four basic prostate surgery steps. Results showed the tool was able to differentiate between novice and expert surgeons by measuring the time it took to complete steps, distance of instrument and camera travel, and frequency of camera movements.

"The dVLogger records the surgeon's movements, capturing where the instruments are and how the surgeon is moving the instruments," Hung says. "We now have an opportunity to put surgeon proficiency under the microscope and see what role it plays in patient outcomes.”