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Borealis: A Platform for Quantitative Evaluation of Laparoscopic Surgical Skills


Overview:

Laparoscopic surgery is becoming increasingly common, as it reduces patient post-operative pain and recovery time. However, because this approach limits the view and physical dexterity of the surgeon, it is more difficult to learn and master than traditional, open surgery. A common method of training involves the use of box trainers. These devices consist of a hard plastic shell with a soft plastic top that acts has the patient's abdomen, through which laparoscopic tools and cameras are placed. Various materials can be places inside the box, allowing trainees to perform various tasks that teach them the skills needed to perform safe, successful laparoscopic procedures.

Currently, in order to evaluate a trainee's skill using a box trainer, a skilled surgeon must observe the trainee perform the tasks in the box trainer, and provide their qualitative assessment of the trainee's skill. This project aims to provide quantitative feedback by tracking the motion of the tools as a task in performed.

By attaching magnetic sensors to the laparoscopic tools using a custom clip, we can record the position of the tip of the tool throughout the performance of a task. An additional magnetic sensor on the camera allows us to determine the trainee's field of view. With this information we can calculate metrics such as the total task completion time, the efficiency of motion of the tools, how balanced the motion is between the left and right hands, and if the tool tips leave the field of view.