13 Scopus citations


Background Modern surgical practice often requires multitasking in operating rooms, generally full of distractions. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of distraction on robot-assisted surgical skill performance in medical students and residents. Methods Fourteen subjects performed a suture-tying task with the da Vinci™ surgical system with distractive secondary tasks simultaneously. The time to task completion, speed and the total distance travelled were analysed. Two-way repeated-measures ANOVA were applied. The scores of secondary tasks were analysed. Results A significant secondary task effect was found with an increase of the time to task completion (p = 0.003) and decreased average speed (p < 0.001). The performance of secondary task for residents was significantly better than students. Conclusions The performance of a robot-assisted surgical task was negatively affected by secondary tasks. However, residents with more surgical experience demonstrated a larger attention capacity for multitasking. Therefore, understanding how medical trainees respond to the distractive secondary tasks while performing robot-assisted surgical task is important in developing a surgical training programme based on the concept of attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-381
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • attention
  • cognitive distraction
  • da Vinci surgical system
  • surgical education
  • surgical performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Biophysics
  • Computer Science Applications


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