Visuospatial Aptitude Testing Differentially Predicts Simulated Surgical Skill

Emily Hinchcliff, Isabel Green, Christopher Destephano, Mary Cox, Douglas Smink, Amanika Kumar, Erik Hokenstad, Joan Bengtson, Sarah L. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether visuospatial perception (VSP) testing is correlated to simulated or intraoperative surgical performance as rated by the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) milestones. Design: (Canadian Task Force classification II-2). Setting: Two academic training institutions. Participants: Forty-one residents, including 19 from Brigham and Women's Hospital and 22 from the Mayo Clinic, from 3 different specialties: obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, and urology. Intervention: Participants underwent 3 different tests: visuospatial perception testing (VSP), Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) peg transfer, and da Vinci robotic simulation peg transfer. Surgical grading from the ACGME milestones tool was obtained for each participant. Demographic and background information was also collected, including specialty, year of training, previous experience with simulated skills, and surgical interest. Standard statistical analyses were performed using Student's t test, and correlations were determined using adjusted linear regression models. Measurements and Main Results: In univariate analysis, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Mayo Clinic training programs differed in times and overall scores for both the FLS peg transfer and da Vinci robotic simulation peg transfer tests (p <.05 for all). In addition, type of residency training affected time and overall score on the robotic peg transfer test. Familiarity with tasks correlated with higher score and faster task completion (p =.05 for all except VSP score). There were no differences in VSP scores by program, specialty, or year of training. In adjusted linear regression modeling, VSP testing was correlated only to robotic peg transfer skills (average time, p =.006; overall score, p =.001). Milestones did not correlate to either VSP or surgical simulation testing. Conclusion: VSP score was correlated with robotic simulation skills, but not with FLS skills or ACGME milestones. This suggests that the ability of VSP score to predict competence differs between tasks. Therefore, further investigation of aptitude testing is needed, especially before its integration as an entry examination into a surgical subspecialty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1050
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Simulation
  • Surgical aptitude
  • Visuospatial test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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