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A Review of Cognitive Support Systems in the Operating Room.

Surgical Innovation 2023 December 6
BACKGROUND: In recent years, numerous innovative yet challenging surgeries, such as minimally invasive procedures, have introduced an overwhelming amount of new technologies, increasing the cognitive load for surgeons and potentially diluting their attention. Cognitive support technologies (CSTs) have been in development to reduce surgeons' cognitive load and minimize errors. Despite its huge demands, it still lacks a systematic review.

METHODS: Literature was searched up until May 21st, 2021. Pubmed, Web of Science, and IEEExplore. Studies that aimed at reducing the cognitive load of surgeons were included. Additionally, studies that contained an experimental trial with real patients and real surgeons were prioritized, although phantom and animal studies were also included. Major outcomes that were assessed included surgical error, anatomical localization accuracy, total procedural time, and patient outcome.

RESULTS: A total of 37 studies were included. Overall, the implementation of CSTs had better surgical performance than the traditional methods. Most studies reported decreased error rate and increased efficiency. In terms of accuracy, most CSTs had over 90% accuracy in identifying anatomical markers with an error margin below 5 mm. Most studies reported a decrease in surgical time, although some were statistically insignificant.

DISCUSSION: CSTs have been shown to reduce the mental workload of surgeons. However, the limited ergonomic design of current CSTs has hindered their widespread use in the clinical setting. Overall, more clinical data on actual patients is needed to provide concrete evidence before the ubiquitous implementation of CSTs.

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