3D surgical imaging systems provide stereoscopic depth cues that are lost in conventional 2D display systems. Recent improvements in stereoscopic projection technology using passive polarising displays have significantly improved novice surgeon performance during the acquisition of minimally invasive surgical skills. This study aims identify if passive polarising 3D displays provide similar benefits for expert minimally invasive surgeons.
Description and Methods
20 expert surgeons performed 10 repetitions of 4 surgical skills tasks using a new passive polarising stereoscopic display under 3D and 2D conditions. The previously validated tasks used were the rope pass, paper cut, needle capping and knot tying. Outcome measures included total error rate and time for task completion.
Expert surgeons demonstrated a significant reduction in error rate and improved performance time during completion of the tasks using the passive polarising 3D display compared with the 2D display. Mean and median data for task repetition time (seconds) for the 3D versus the 2D mode respectively were 43.7 (s.e.m 1.01) and 36.8 vs. 66.8 (s.e.m 1.87) and 49.0 (p=<0.001). Mean and median data for task repetition errors for the 3D versus the 2D mode respectively were 0.78 (s.e.m 0.42) and 0.0 vs. 2.02 (s.e.m. 0.76) and 2.0 (p=<0.001).
Expert surgeons adaptation during the interpretation of 2D visual cues does not fully compensate for the loss of stereoscopic vision. Passive polarising 3D displays significantly improve expert surgeon performance of minimally invasive surgical skills in a simulated environment. All grades of surgeon gain significant advantages using passive polarising 3D displays in simulated settings and similar advantages are anticipated when performing minimally invasive surgical procedures.