Modeling Surgical Technical Skill Using Expert Assessment for Automated Computer Rating

David P. Azari, Lane L. Frasier, Sudha R.Pavuluri Quamme, Caprice C. Greenberg, Carla M. Pugh, Jacob A. Greenberg, Robert G. Radwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objective: Computer vision was used to predict expert performance ratings from surgeon hand motions for tying and suturing tasks. Summary Background Data: Existing methods, including the objective structured assessment of technical skills (OSATS), have proven reliable, but do not readily discriminate at the task level. Computer vision may be used for evaluating distinct task performance throughout an operation. Methods: Open surgeries was videoed and surgeon hands were tracked without using sensors or markers. An expert panel of 3 attending surgeons rated tying and suturing video clips on continuous scales from 0 to 10 along 3 task measures adapted from the broader OSATS: motion economy, fluidity of motion, and tissue handling. Empirical models were developed to predict the expert consensus ratings based on the hand kinematic data records. Results: The predicted versus panel ratings for suturing had slopes from 0.73 to 1, and intercepts from 0.36 to 1.54 (Average R2 = 0.81). Predicted versus panel ratings for tying had slopes from 0.39 to 0.88, and intercepts from 0.79 to 4.36 (Average R2 = 0.57). The mean square error among predicted and expert ratings was consistently less than the mean squared difference among individual expert ratings and the eventual consensus ratings. Conclusions: The computer algorithm consistently predicted the panel ratings of individual tasks, and were more objective and reliable than individual assessment by surgical experts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-581
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • computer vision
  • marker-less video tracking
  • objective structured assessment of technical skills
  • objective structured assessment of technical skills
  • surgical task analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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