Laparoscopic warm-up exercises improve performance of senior-level trainees during laparoscopic renal surgery.
ABSTRACT Surgery is a high-stakes "performance." Yet, unlike athletes or musicians, surgeons do not engage in routine "warm-up" exercises before "performing" in the operating room. We study the impact of a preoperative warm-up exercise routine (POWER) on surgeon performance during laparoscopic surgery.
Serving as their own controls, each subject performed two pairs of laparoscopic cases, each pair consisting of one case with POWER (+POWER) and one without (-POWER). Subjects were randomly assigned to +POWER or -POWER for the initial case of each pairing, and all cases were performed ≥ 1 week apart. POWER consisted of completing an electrocautery skill task on a virtual reality simulator and 15 minutes of laparoscopic suturing and knot tying in a pelvic box trainer. For each case, cognitive, psychomotor, and technical performance data were collected during two different tasks: mobilization of the colon (MC) and intracorporeal suturing and knot tying (iSKT). Statistical analysis was performed using SYSTAT v11.0.
A total of 28 study cases (14+POWER, 14-POWER) were performed by seven different subjects. Cognitive and psychomotor performance (attention, distraction, workload, spatial reasoning, movement smoothness, posture stability) were found to be significantly better in the +POWER group (P ≤ 0.05) and technical performance, as scored by two blinded laparoscopic experts, was found to be better in the +POWER group for MC (P=0.04) but not iSKT (P=0.92). Technical scores demonstrated excellent reliability using our assessment tool (Cronbach ∝=0.88). Subject performance during POWER was also found to correlate with intraoperative performance scores.
Urologic trainees who perform a POWER approximately 1 hour before laparoscopic renal surgery demonstrate improved cognitive, psychomotor, and technical performance.