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Laser pointers improved guidance during surgery

Last changed: 18 October 2016

In veterinary clinical education, students perform surgery under guided supervision. This study aimed to determine if students' perception of how well they understood verbal guidance could be improved by using a laser pointer during feline castration.

It was assumed that a teacher's use of a laser pointer could help students identify structures of importance during surgery. The hypothesis was that use of a laser pointer would improve student understanding of verbal guidance during surgery.

Eighteen privately owned male cats were electively neutered by fourth- and fifth-year veterinary students at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Each student performed orchiectomy on one cat. One testis was removed while the student received verbal guidance combined with a laser pointer, and the other testis was removed while the student received only verbal guidance. The use of a laser pointer alternated between first and second testis.

After surgery, students rated how well they understood verbal guidance on a visual-analog scale (100 mm) for each instructional method. The two ratings were compared in a student's two-sided t-test. The median score with or without guidance with a laser pointer was 81 (59–96) and 54 (25–86), respectively (p<.001).

This study showed that laser pointers enhanced verbal guidance given to students during surgery. The suggested mechanism of explanation is that the technology enabled a more precise guidance of location and identification of anatomic structures.

Link to the article


Badman, M., Höglund, K., & Höglund, O. V. Student Perceptions of the Use of a Laser Pointer for Intra-Operative Guidance in Feline Castration. Journal of veterinary medical education. 2016; 43(2):222-4. doi: 10.3138/jvme.0515-084R2 


Odd Höglund
Senior Lecturer at the Department of Clinical Sciences; Small Animal Unit                                                        

Telephone: 018-671328