Homework for surgeons

03 Aug 2016

Practising surgery at home? Well, almost. New “ArthroBox” simulators are helping trainee surgeons learn basic skills – wherever they may be.

Dr Vaghela giving training on ArthroBox

Aspiring orthopaedic surgeons can now hone their manual dexterity skills in their own time, thanks to the new handy portable practice kits.

Dr Kalpesh Vaghela is responsible for developing the skills of young doctors who are training to be orthopaedic surgeons.

Trainees already have access to a range of highly realistic simulation tools, but the simulators can be used by only one student at a time, with Dr Vaghela present to oversee each trainee’s work.

Now, using the “ArthroBox” simulator kits, funded by us with a £4,299 grant, trainees can practise at home.

The kits are relatively simple and make no attempt to mimic complex human anatomy, but instead involve manual challenges similar to those that an orthopaedic surgeon has to perform.

The small white cubes have holes through which arthroscopic tools can be inserted. The tests of dexterity include looping a rubber band around four pegs.

They can be connected to a laptop, meaning data can be collected – for example on how long it took to complete a task.

ArthroBox helps to develop basic proficiency, and the portability of them is a great help.

Dr Vaghela believes the kits will help his trainees develop skills more quickly – and ultimately make surgery safer for patients.

He’s planning a trial comparing the performance of those who have used an ArthroBox with those who haven’t, to test their impact.

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