OBJECTIVE To evaluate muscle activity and hand motion in veterinarians performing a standard set of laparoscopic training tasks.
SAMPLE 12 veterinarians with experience performing laparoscopic procedures.
PROCEDURES Participants were asked to perform peg transfer, coordination, precision cutting, and suturing tasks in a laparoscopic box trainer. Activity of the right biceps brachii, triceps brachii, forearm flexor, forearm extensor, and trapezius muscles was analyzed by means of surface electromyography. Right hand movements and wrist angle data were registered through the use of a data glove, and risk levels for the wrist joint were determined by use of a modified rapid upper limb assessment (RULA) method. One-way repeated-measures ANOVA with a Bonferroni post hoc test was performed to compare values between tasks.
RESULTS Activity in the biceps muscle did not differ significantly among the 4 tasks. Activity in the triceps, forearm flexor, and forearm extensor muscles was significantly higher during precision cutting than during the coordination task. Activity in the trapezius muscle was highest during the suturing task and did not differ significantly among the other 3 tasks. The RULA score was unacceptable (score, 3) for the coordination, peg transfer, and precision cutting tasks but was acceptable (score, 2) for the suturing task.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that the ergonomics of laparoscopic training depended on the tasks performed and the design of the instruments used. Precision cutting and suturing tasks were associated with the highest muscle activity. Acceptable wrist position, as determined with the RULA method, was found with the suturing task, which was performed with an axial-handled instrument. (Am J Vet Res 2016;77:186–193)