Modern metrics for evaluating surgical technical skills

Stacy Shackelford*, Mark Bowyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Assessment of surgical technical skills has traditionally occurred through informal means using sporadic and subjective feedback. Recent trends in patient safety, simulation training, and technological advances have generated a need for accurate and objective assessment of surgical technical skills. This review is intended to identify the breadth and scope of recent approaches to surgical skill assessment and metrics and define gaps for further development. Recent findings Surgical skill assessment methods can be broadly categorized as (1) assessments by expert observa-tions using validated task-specific checklists and global rating scales, (2) automated motion tracking metrics using mechanical force sensors, accelerometers or computer video analysis, and (3) mechanical outcome metrics. Summary Surgical skill assessments are likely to play an ever-increasing role in surgical training and certification. Further research is needed to determine the optimal metrics for assessment and to identify relevant real-world outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalCurrent Surgery Reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Surgical skill(s) assessment
  • Surgical technical skill assessment
  • Technical skill


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