Cognitive Task Analysis of Spatial Skills in Hysterectomy with the Da Vinchi Surgical System

Liel Luko, Avi Parush, and Lior Lowenstein


robot-assisted surgery, robot-aided surgery, human-robot interaction, spatial skill training, cognitive task analysis


Spatial skills have an influence on surgeon’s performance during robot-assisted surgery, and as such should be part of the training. Yet, there is a gap between the current training programs for surgical skills and the needed training of crucial spatial skills. This work addresses the need to improve skill training in robot-assisted surgery with an innovative approach. The innovative aspects are the analysis and identification of the influential and essential spatial skills in robot-assisted surgery as a basis for training surgeons to improve performance in various conditions. The overall goal is to identify the crucial spatial skills needed for robot-assisted surgery and introduce them in a training program. The specific objectives are to focus on the cognitive tasks performed during a robot-assisted Hysterectomy and uncover the underlying spatial tasks. In addition, the analysis is aimed at identifying high risk spatial tasks where a failure during the task could increase the risk for both surgeons and patients. Data collection included observations and interviews, followed by a cognitive task analysis. Spatial tasks and the relevant spatial skills were identified, and high-risk spatial tasks were detected. Finally, the implications of training spatial skills on surgeon’s performance in robot-assisted surgery is discussed.

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