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.

Metro RTA

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

Lordstown GM plant plans to install 8,500 solar panels
How much will this solar array cost? How is it being funded, and who is really paying for it? How much real useful electricity will it actually produce in MEh p...

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

New book says Willoughby Coal is haunted...and that's good for business
Would love to see a series of books that would just thrill me. I cannot wait to visit some of the locations. And revisit some of the locations I have already vi...

Cleveland Indians to continue with 'dynamic pricing'
pricing is too high for a family as well as people like me who are on a fixed income. Bleacher seats are cheaper but concessions are rediculous.

Kasich talks about faith, drugs and education -- but never FitzGerald
The idea that you can learn more by talking to a 90 year old person than from a history book is just another example of how the GOP hates education and knowledg...

Copyright © 2014 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