News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Lehmans

Knight Foundation


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine




Exploradio: Simulators replace patients and every body benefits
Today's surgeons are learning their craft on hi-tech simulators instead of practicing on real patients, and every body feels better
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
The invisible patient. A surgical resident learns how to use the tools of the trade by practicing first on computer simulators made by Cleveland-based Simbionix.
Courtesy of Simbionix
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

New doctors are spending a lot more time in front of computers than they did a decade ago. That’s because they’re learning new surgical skills using sophisticated teaching modules, before they practice on a real patient.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair visits a Cleveland company that is the world leader in developing surgical simulators.

 

 

Exploradio: Simulators replace patients

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:00)


Learning through virtual complications
Amy Natsis demonstrates the value of practice at the Cleveland headquarters of Simbionix. She uses this simulator to train OB/GYN’s and urologists how to use the tools of their trade. Suddenly a cloud of blood fills our virtual uterus. As in the real world she says, "things can happen." The tension mounts as the computer issues a warning about the patient's blood pressure falling. She asks, "what would you do now in this situation?” 

I'm wondering if this thing has an off button. Luckily, Natsis has done this countless times and knows just what to do.  The simulator allows doctors to experience real-life complications like this without real risk. Natsis speaks for a lot of patients when she says, “We don’t want them to learn on us.” 

 

Cleveland attracts world headquarters
Simbionix also makes simulators for knee surgery, colonoscopies, laparoscopic surgery, and about a half-dozen other specialties. 

Founded in Israel in 1997, the company moved its headquarters to Cleveland about ten years ago. R&D remains in Israel.  General Manager Paul Jensen says funding from the local venture capital groups Early Stage Partners and BioEnterprise, is part of what brought them to Northeast Ohio, “and the Cleveland Clinic and University Hosptials.”

Jensen says Simbionix simulators are being used not just for training, but also to help a surgeon plan and practice a complex procedure before doing it on a live patient. The ANGIO simulator downloads a CAT scan of the patient, and the surgeon can actually rehearse,"on the patient’s anatomy.”


Like learning to fly an airplane, surgery takes practice
Procedure rehearsal studio manager Tom Andersson and application specialist Virginia Budzinski are my assistants as I try to fix a very scary looking aneurysm in a 77-year-old male patient.

I prod a long thin plastic wire into the mock leg in front of me, and I notice there’s lots of resistance. Andersson says the simulator has a good haptic feel, which means it's very lifelike.  That explains why I cringe as I push the wire deeper into the 3-D image of a real-person’s CAT scan, even though I know it’s a computer simulation. Andersson tries to talk me through it, by describing the tortuosity of the iliacs.  I pause for a moment to absorb the phrase, tortuous iliacs, when he reminds me the patient would us like to wrap things up.

Budzinski takes over and successfully places stents inside the patient’s ballooned aorta. I'm relieved it's over. Tom Andersson says it’s exactly the kind of rehearsal you’d like a surgeon to do before you actually go under the knife.  He gives the example of pilots spending hours and hours in front of simulators,"before they get their hands on a new plane."  He says the angioplasty simulator allows surgeons, "that same basic capability.”


The new norm in surgical training
Physician Ed Ferris trains OB/GYN residents at Summa’s Akron City Hospital.  He says tradition prevailed when he was learning his art, "there were definitely no high-tech simulators in my day.”  He says not that long ago the old teaching method still held sway of, "see one, do one, teach one."  Ferris says his residents have been learning on the Simbionix simulator for about five years.  He says they spend hours in front of the simulator before touching a real patient. 

Ferris says the hand-eye coordination takes practice. He cites a study that showed teenage video gamers do better on these types of simulation equipment than some brand new interns because of hours spent using game controllers. The same is often true,he says, of musicians who become surgeons.  
 
Ferris says although it’s not the way he learned, he says today’s residents are better prepared for surgery thanks to simulators.

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio becomes first in the nation to dump PARCC testing
Best test to use for elementary schools is the old pre common core Iowa test of basic skills. This test measures apples to apples and tests the skills appropri...

Ohio is moving forward with new standardized tests
Mr Chow, Nice piece on testing. Should not Ohio go to an open bid process for the new assessment contract? Ohio has stayed with a "connected" DC non-profit fo...

The Surpreme Court gay-marriage decision plays out in Ohio Amish country
Keep in mind that the majority of the people residing in Holmes County are Amish, a church people who do not vote because they do not believe in governmental ru...

Akron council committee recommends Forney for its opening
Which committee member voted for Wilhite?

Nearly a dozen Cuyahoga gay couples get licenses to marry after the Supreme Court ruling
Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo a graduate of Chanel High School and supposed member of St. Francis Parish in Gates Mills has just excommunicated himself. As ...

Canton Youth Symphony is named orchestra of the year
This is what makes CSO the hippest small town orchestra in America!

What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
let's face it! The increase has little to do with smoking cessation

Rare Cleveland Indians photo from 1911 hits the auction block
Paddy Livingston, who cut his teeth on a Louisville Slugger in Kent, Ohio was one of the immortals that played in that game. He was the catcher. Ty Cobb actuall...

Nexus denies Green's request to relocate its planned gas pipeline
These people have so much power. Too much. They could care less about the people they leave when it is done. Spectra does not, and admits, they do not do the...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University