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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine whether simulator-assessed laparoscopic skills of veterinary students were associated with training level and prior experience performing nonlaparoscopic veterinary surgery and other activities requiring hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.

DESIGN Experiment.

SAMPLE 145 students without any prior laparoscopic surgical or fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) simulator experience in years 1 (n = 39), 2 (34), 3 (39), and 4 (33) at a veterinary college.

PROCEDURES A questionnaire was used to collect data from participants regarding experience performing veterinary surgery, playing video games, and participating in other activities. Participants performed a peg transfer, pattern cutting, and ligature loop-placement task on an FLS simulator, and FLS scores were assigned by an observer. Scores were compared among academic years, and correlations between amounts of veterinary surgical experience and FLS scores were assessed. A general linear model was used to identify predictors of FLS scores.

RESULTS Participants were predominantly female (75%), right-hand dominant (92%), and between 20 and 29 years of age (98%). No significant differences were identified among academic years in FLS scores for individual tasks or total FLS score. Scores were not significantly associated with prior surgical or video game experience. Participants reporting no handicraft experience had significantly lower total FLS scores and FLS scores for task 2 than did participants reporting a lot of handicraft experience.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Prior veterinary surgical and video game experience had no influence on FLS scores in this group of veterinary students, suggesting that proficiency of veterinary students in FLS may require specific training.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association