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Surgeon simulation: Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect, right? But what happens when the stakes could be life and death and there hasn’t been a lot of practice? There are some surgeries and procedures that are so rare and complex most pediatric surgeons’ skills get rusty. Now, med schools around the country are turning to HiDef technology to help surgeons maintain their skills.

The patient is just three days old with a hernia so dangerous a surgeon has to operate immediately to save his life.

It looks bad for the newborn, but this time, it’s okay. The surgical resident will have a second, third, even 50th chance to perfect this rare procedure in Northwestern University’s simulation lab.

Colin Gause, MD, a resident at Case Western told Ivanhoe, “I think it makes all of us feel better about our ability to deliver optimal care by being able to practice on these models rather than a patient.”

Katherine Barsness, MD, MS, Director of Surgical Simulation at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, explained, “It gives the learners a safe environment in which to work out the kinks. They can make their mistakes before you ever have a real patient in front of you.”

Dr. Barsness is turning the next generation of good doctors into great ones.

“I can stress them and I can make them perform under each and every single stressor,” said Dr. Barsness. “Some of the professional skills are the ability to communicate with your peers, the ability to take leadership in critical moments.”

Ben Schwab, MD, a resident at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine detailed, “Being able to learn how to handle the needles and the laparoscopic instruments, those are the kind of things that are universal to a lot of different operations.”

These realistic 3D models are designed to mimic the complex, yet delicate, structure of infant organs.

“I know I don’t want my grandchildren having an operation by somebody who hasn’t done one, Dr. Barsness told Ivanhoe. “I want the person who says I’m an expert and I can prove it.”

When life and death is determined by the slightest flick of the wrist, practice doesn’t just make perfect, it saves a life.

Dr. Barsness said simulation training not only improves surgical skills, it shortens operation time, and minimizes harm to the patient. It also saves money on healthcare.

Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Brent Sucher, Videographer.

Source: Ivanhoe Newswire

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