Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Burg, Karen JL

Committee Member

Smith , Dane E

Committee Member

Dean , Delphine


Laparoscopic surgery has evolved from an 'alternative' surgical technique to currently being considered as a mainstream surgical technique. However, learning this complex technique holds unique challenges to novice surgeons due to their 'distance' from the surgical site. One of the main challenges in acquiring laparoscopic skills is the acquisition of force-based or haptic skills. The neglect of popular training methods (e.g., the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery, i.e. FLS, curriculum) in addressing this aspect of skills training has led many medical skills professionals to research new, efficient methods for haptic skills training.
The overarching goal of this research was to demonstrate that a set of simple, simulator-based haptic exercises can be developed and used to train users for skilled application of forces with surgical tools. A set of salient or core haptic skills that underlie proficient laparoscopic surgery were identified, based on published time-motion studies. Low-cost, computer-based haptic training simulators were prototyped to simulate each of the identified salient haptic skills. All simulators were tested for construct validity by comparing surgeons' performance on the simulators with the performance of novices with no previous laparoscopic experience. An integrated, 'core haptic skills' simulator capable of rendering the three validated haptic skills was built. To examine the efficacy of this novel salient haptic skills training simulator, novice participants were tested for training improvements in a detailed study.
Results from the study demonstrated that simulator training enabled users to significantly improve force application for all three haptic tasks. Research outcomes from this project could greatly influence surgical skills simulator design, resulting in more efficient training.



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