In Search of Characterizing Surgical Skill

David Azari, Caprice Greenberg, Carla Pugh, Douglas Wiegmann, Robert Radwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: This paper provides a literature review and detailed discussion of surgical skill terminology. Culminating in a novel model that proposes a set of unique definitions, this review is designed to facilitate shared understanding to study and develop metrics quantifying surgical skill. Design: Objective surgical skill analysis depends on consistent definitions and shared understanding of terms like performance, expertise, experience, aptitude, ability, competency, and proficiency. Structure: Each term is discussed in turn, drawing from existing literature and colloquial uses. Implications: A new model of definitions is proposed to cement a common and consistent lexicon for future skills analysis, and to quantitatively describe a surgeon's performance throughout their career.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1348-1363
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Deliberate practice
  • Objective performance assessment
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Surgical skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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