Development and Validation of Mental Practice As a Training Strategy for Laparoscopic Surgery

Concerns for patient safety have rendered the need for alternative training strategies outside of the operating-theatre. Mental Practice (MP), ‘the cognitive rehearsal of a task prior to performance,’ has been successful in sport and aviation to enhance imagery and thus skill. This study aims to develop and validate a MP training strategy for laparoscopic surgery.
A cognitive task analysis was conducted for a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (LC) identifying visual, tactile and cognitive cues for the procedure. This was used to develop a MP training protocol consisting of a ‘script’ of procedural steps and additional cues to enhance mental imagery. The script was validated with expert and novice laparoscopic surgeons. Each subject was asked to use this script to mentally rehearse a LC within 30mins. Their ability to mentally practice this procedure was assessed pre and post the MP training with a modified version of a validated questionnaire.
20 subjects (10 experts with >100 LCs, 10 novices < 5LCs observed) completed the study. The ANOVA on questionnaire scores revealed that, whereas experts scored higher on all questions than novices pre-training, after MP training both groups improved significantly on all components of MP. Specifically, both novices (M = 6.00 +/- SD 0.67) and experts (M = 6.10 +/-0.74) found MP useful. Comparing pre to post training, novices significantly improved in ability to see (M =1.60 +/-0.52 vs. M = 5.20 +/-0.63, t(9)=13.50, p

Session: Podium Presentation

Program Number: S017

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