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Systematic review of predictors of surgical performance

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  • Presented to the Annual Meeting of the Association for Surgical Education, San Diego, California, USA, March 2012

Abstract

Background:

Selection criteria for surgical training are not scientifically proven. There is a need to define which attributes predict future surgical performance. The aim of this study was to examine the predictive value of specific attributes that impact on surgical performance.

Methods:

All studies assessing the predictive power of specified attributes with regard to outcome measures of surgical performance in MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Educational Resources Information Centre databases, and bibliographies of selected articles from 1950 to November 2010 were considered for inclusion by two independent reviewers. Information on study identifiers, participant characteristics, predictors assessed, evaluation methods for predictors, outcome measures, results and statistical analysis was collected. Quality assessment was carried out using the Hayden criteria.

Results:

Visual–spatial perception correlated with both subjective and objective assessments of surgical performance, including rate of skill acquisition. Visual–spatial perception did not correlate with operative ability in experts, although it did with operative ability at the end of a training programme. Psychomotor aptitude, assessed collectively, correlated with rate of skill acquisition. Academic achievement predicted completion of a training programme and passing end-of-training examinations, but did not predict clinical performance during the training programme.

Conclusion:

Intermediate- and high-level visual–spatial perception, as well as psychomotor aptitude, can be used as criteria for assessing candidates for surgical training. Academic achievement is an effective predictor of successful completion of training programmes and should continue to form part of the assessment of surgical candidates. Copyright © 2012 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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