Arthroscopy Skills Tests

Maulik Gandhi – Medical Student, Manchester University
Lennard Funk – Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Salford Royal Hospitals

The increased number of arthroscopies has led to a greater number of formal methods of teaching and assessment. The skills required for arthroscopy differ to that for open surgery. It is recognised that not everyone has the specific abilities to perform arthroscopic surgery and perhaps some medical students have the ability to develop arthroscopic skills more easily than others.

To assess whether performance on 5 specially designed Macromedia MX Flash programs correlated with 3 arthroscopic tasks performed on a synthetic should model, and whether any particular activities or demographics may involve any preconditioning skills for arthroscopy.

32 medical students were asked to complete a questionnaire, list their hobbies, perform 3 arthroscopic tasks (navigation, triangulation, instrumentation) on a shoulder model, and perform 5 Flash tests on a laptop. They were grouped by their sex, hand dominance and if they participated in any of the 9 activity categories.

Navigation score correlated significantly with 4 Flash tests’ scores. Instrumentation score only significantly correlated with 1 Flash test score. Non string instrument players performed significantly better than string instrument players (p=0.033) at instrumentation. Other groups (computer gamers, crafters, drummers, right handers) performed faster than their corresponding groups in all skills, but not significantly.

It appears that there is a role of Flash tests in predicting an individual’s ability to arthroscopic navigation and instrumentation. It would appear that certain hobbies and demographics may have a role in predetermining the skills required for shoulder arthroscopic surgery. Further investigation with larger groups and additional assessment tools is underway.


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