Impact of cognitive imaging and sex differences on the development of laparoscopic suturing skills

Tyrone Donnon, Jean Gaston DesCôteaux, Claudio Violato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: The introduction of noninvasive laparoscopic surgery has raised concerns about appropriate teaching techniques for medical students considering surgery as a specialization. The principal aim of this study was to determine the effect, between the sexes, of cognitive imaging as a teaching method in the context of learning a surgical technique. Methods: A randomized treatment-control sample of 42 medical student volunteers was used to test the effect of cognitive imaging on performance and on traditional instructional techniques to help medical students acquire suturing skills specific to laparoscopic surgery. Results: Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed no significant effect for the use of cognitive imaging (F1,40 = 0.97, p > 0.05). Males tended to perform better than females in completing tasks that required the use of visual-spatial manipulation of the instruments within a simulated laparoscopic environment (F1,40 = 5.08, p < 0.05). Conclusions: These results, which are in concordance with other research findings, indicate that females generally have lower visual-spatial abilities than males. Enhanced performance for both sexes, however, increases rapidly with practice. Other than verbal one-on-one instruction, males on average rank instructional approaches that are applied and visual higher than do females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-393
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005


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