Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Brent Seales


Skills assessment in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) has been a challenge for training centers for a long time. The emerging maturity of camera-based systems has the potential to transform problems into solutions in many different areas, including MIS. The current evaluation techniques for assessing the performance of surgeons and trainees are direct observation, global assessments, and checklists. These techniques are mostly subjective and can, therefore, involve a margin of bias.

The current automated approaches are all implemented using mechanical or electromagnetic sensors, which suffer limitations and influence the surgeon’s motion. Thus, evaluating the skills of the MIS surgeons and trainees objectively has become an increasing concern. In this work, we integrate and coordinate multiple camera sensors to assess the performance of MIS trainees and surgeons.

This study aims at developing an objective data-driven assessment that takes advantage of multiple coordinated sensors. The technical framework for the study is a synchronized network of sensors that captures large sets of measures from the training environment. The measures are then, processed to produce a reliable set of individual and composed metrics, coordinated in time, that suggest patterns of skill development. The sensors are non-invasive, real-time, and coordinated over many cues such as, eye movement, external shots of body and instruments, and internal shots of the operative field. The platform is validated by a case study of 17 subjects and 70 sessions. The results show that the platform output is highly accurate and reliable in detecting patterns of skills development and predicting the skill level of the trainees.