Medical simulation experts to conduct research on MIST surgical trainer system features at Yale

Albuquerque 21 June 2000MUSE Virtual Presence Ltd., a subsidiary of MUSE Technologies, made public that Dr. Anthony Gallagher, Director of Northern Ireland Center for Endoscopic Training and Research at Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland, has been awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship to research the company's MIST or Minimally Invasive Surgical Trainer System. The yearlong project, which is being conducted at Yale University, hopes to establish and specify pre-requisite skills required to succeed as a laparoscopic surgeon.

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MIST is an advanced but simple-to-use computer-based system designed to teach and assess minimally invasive surgical skills. It has been validated through extensive clinical trials at leading hospitals as well as at educational facilities. Novice surgeons who train on the MIST System learn to develop hand-eye co-ordination and manual skills comparable to those found in master surgeons.

More than 125 MIST systems are in use at seventy medical institutions all over the world, including Harvard University; Penn State; Emory University; Washington State University; Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London; Queen's University of Belfast; and the North of England Wolfson Centre for Minimally Invasive Therapy, based in Manchester, United Kingdom.

According to Dr. Richard Satava, Professor of Surgery at Yale University, Dr. Gallagher's extensive research on the MIST System has clearly established its great value as a surgical training tool. "I am eager to work with Dr. Gallagher, who is renowned for his work in medical simulation, and build on his research to establish a clearly defined set of tasks which will set forth the specific criteria needed to evaluate hand-eye co-ordination and other motor and spatial perception skills in novice surgeons."

"The MIST System", continued Dr. Richard Satava, "has the capability of providing the basis for establishing a battery of tests which can assess a student's ability to succeed as a surgeon, similar to the tests used in assessing the skills of potential pilots."

Professor Robert Stone, Scientific Director for MUSE Technologies, and a member of the committee reporting to the Royal College of Surgeons of England on surgical competency, stated, "We're looking forward to integrating the results of this valuable research into the future plans and initiatives currently under consideration by MUSE Technologies and the company's surgical collaborators."

The MIST system integrates two standard laparoscopic instruments with a personal computer. A colour monitor displays the movement of the surgical instruments in real time 3D graphics, which were created by MUSE Virtual Presence's London-based medical software group.

The 3D graphics provide the trainee with an abstracted representation of the abdominal cavity in the form of simple geometric shapes. This enables the students to develop and refine the specific key psychomotor skills required to become a proficient laparoscopic surgeon. The trainees are guided through a series of six exercises of progressive complexity which imitate the techniques employed in laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

MUSE Virtual Presence Limited provides a host of interactive 3D computer-based business solutions to European defence, medical and manufacturing industries and is an established supplier of training, evaluation, diagnostic, and simulation hardware and software to hospitals and medical research groups in the United Kingdom and other countries.

MUSE Virtual Presence has offices in London, Manchester and Paris, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of MUSE Technologies, an international leader in the development of perceptual computing software for data visualisation and network collaboration. More news on the MIST Training System is available in the April 2000 VMW article Computer-based Surgical Trainer MIST to continue global conquest of medical institutions.


Leslie Versweyveld

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