Left-Handedness in Obstetrics and Gynecology: A Nationwide Survey of US. Trainees and Educators

Christopher P. Moutos, Daphne D. Arena Goncharov, Antonio Saad, Gwyn Richardson, Sangeeta Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the views and influence of left-handedness among obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) trainees and educators and to identify perceived obstacles in training by left-handed (LH) trainees. Study Design: An online survey was sent to the U.S. Obstetrics and Gynecology training programs. All participants were asked questions on hand preference for various medical and nonmedical activities, as well as on demographics. Participant responses to handedness and their role as a learner or educator directed them toward further questions. Trainees were surveyed on their experience and outlook as a LH physician in OBGYN. Educators were surveyed on their experience and attitudes in working with LH trainees. LH educators were also surveyed on their experience as a LH physician, similar to the LH trainees. Chi-square or Fisher's exact analysis was used as appropriate, with p -value <0.05 considered statistically significant. Results: Responses were received from 21 training programs, totaling 304 individuals. Participants included 205 learners (156 right handed and 49 left handed), and 99 faculty (82 right handed and 17 left handed). A lack of LH surgical instrument availability (93.6%) and difficulty using right-handed (RH) instruments (83%) were notable obstacles reported by LH learners. The majority of LH learners (57.4%) did not consider their handedness to be disadvantageous but did note added difficulty when training under RH mentors when compared with training under LH mentors (66%). In contrast to LH educators, RH educators endorsed added difficulty in instructing operative procedures to LH learners (32.1 vs. 13.3%, p = 0.012). Conclusion: LH trainees face unique challenges during their OBGYN training. Educators would benefit from guidance on how best to manage these trainees. Educators should work to adapt surgical and procedural techniques to accommodate LH trainees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1820-1826
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jan 13 2021


  • education
  • hand laterality
  • left hand
  • surgery
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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