A novel detection method for determining a surgeon's fatigue and hand tremor

  • Paul Stephen Slack

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The thesis presents new methodology and algorithms that can be used to analyse and measure the hand tremor and fatigue of surgeons while performing surgery. This will assist them in deriving useful information about their fatigue levels, and make them aware of the changes in their tool point accuracies. This thesis proposes that muscular changes of surgeons, which occur through a day of operating, can be monitored using Electromyography (EMG) signals. The multi-channel EMG signals are measured at different muscles in the upper arm of surgeons. The dependence of EMG signals has been examined to test the hypothesis that EMG signals are coupled with and dependent on each other. The results demonstrated that EMG signals collected from different channels while mimicking an operating posture are independent. Consequently, single channel fatigue analysis has been performed. In measuring hand tremor, a new method for determining the maximum tremor amplitude using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and a new technique to detrend acceleration signals using Empirical Mode Decomposition algorithm were introduced. This tremor determination method is more representative for surgeons and it is suggested as an alternative fatigue measure. This was combined with the complexity analysis method, and applied to surgically captured data to determine if operating has an effect on a surgeon’s fatigue and tremor levels. It was found that surgical tremor and fatigue are developed throughout a day of operating and that this could be determined based solely on their initial values. Finally, several Nonlinear AutoRegressive with eXogenous inputs (NARX) neural networks were evaluated. The results suggest that it is possible to monitor surgeon tremor variations during surgery from their EMG fatigue measurements.
    Date of Award2007
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorXianghong Ma (Supervisor)


    • novel detection method
    • surgeon's fatigue
    • hand tremor

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