Improved usability of a new handle design for laparoscopic dissection forceps.

Surgical Endoscopy And Other Interventional Techniques(2002)

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Background: Recent studies have shown that the shape of most instrument handles causes user discomfort and that none of the handles currently available on the market satisfies all ergonomic criteria. Therefore, we designed a handle with improved usability; i.e., it is easier to manipulate and its use entails less risk of injury for the operator. The aim of this study was to demonstrate that the intended improvements of the new design were successful. Methods: Six handles representative of the types that are currently available were compared with the new version. Eight surgeons used the seven handles during a precision task and a rough task in a pelvi-trainer. A questionnaire and video analyses were used to assess the usability of the handles. Results: Based on the responses to the questionnaire, we determined that there were significant differences between the new handle and the Aesculap handle (means of rotation and angle between handle and shaft). No significant differences were found between the new handle and the five other handles. The video analyses (documenting extreme vs neutral wrist excursions) showed significant differences between the new handle and the six other handles. Conclusion: Compared to the six existing handles, the new handle has significantly improved usability; in particular, its hinged design obviates the need to make extreme wrist excursions.
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