Immersion Medical introduces first touch feedback hysteroscopy training simulator

Las Vegas 19 November 2003Immersion Medical, a wholly owned subsidiary of Immersion Corporation, has introduced its beta AccuTouch Hysteroscopy simulator. This simulator is one of the first commercial gynaecological simulators that specifically incorporates training with a hysteroscope while simulating a specific procedure. The new hysteroscopy simulator with Immersion's proprietary haptic-feedback technology realistically recreates this procedure on a virtual female patient.

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Complete with two new modules involving aspects of basic hysteroscopy and myomectomy, doctors can practise hysteroscopy and accompanying procedures such as tumour removal. The high-fidelity hardware and software enable a physician to sense changes in texture, resistance and density, making use of life-like cues that improve control, performance and results.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2002 more than 80.000 women were diagnosed with a gynaecologic cancer, making it the fourth most common cancer group in American women. However, according to the American Association of Gynaecologic Laparoscopists, only 15 percent of United States gynaecologists today perform office hysterososcopy, partly because appropriate tools became available only in the last decade.

"Abnormal bleeding in women is very common today, and sometimes caused by cancer", stated Leroy Heinrichs, M.D., Director of Surgical Simulation at Stanford University. "The AccuTouch Hysteroscopy simulator is therefore critical to help increase the competence levels for conducting diagnostic and operative gynaecological procedures that are safe and comfortable for the patient."

The AccuTouch Hysteroscopy simulator is the culmination of work initiated in 1998 with the help of Stanford University/NASA's National Biocomputation Center and Dr. Heinrichs, who works at Stanford University Medical Media and Information Technologies centre (SUMMIT) and who also helped secure a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to fund the project. For the past year, Immersion Medical and the GYNECARE Worldwide division of Ethicon Inc. worked together to develop the hardware while GYNECARE provided clinical expertise for the software development.

Immersion Medical is specialised in the medical simulation market with hundreds of medical simulators in top hospitals nationwide. Immersion Medical uses its comprehensive suite of patented intellectual property to develop touch technology that enriches the user experience by mimicking the look, sound and feel of performing minimally invasive procedures.

"We recognized a need for more women's health training devices to assist health care professionals in becoming more proficient in gynaecological procedures", stated Bill Lewandowski, Vice President of Simulation Systems for Immersion Medical. "Medical simulators are the best tools to ensure that doctors are properly trained and that these procedures are safe and comfortable. With less discomfort, women may be more likely to come in for screening on a regular basis."

Hysteroscopy is a procedure that involves looking into the cavity of the uterus with a thin optical instrument, or hysteroscope, to help evaluate patients with various gynaecologic conditions. During the procedure, the physician can introduce various tools alongside the hysteroscope to correct uterine abnormalities, remove tumours, and even remove the entire uterine lining.

Immersion Medical designs, manufactures and markets computer-based medical training simulation systems worldwide. The systems integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics to create highly realistic medical procedure simulations that help train doctors. The company's four key product lines are the CathSim Vascular Access Simulator, the AccuTouch Endoscopy Simulator, the AccuTouch Endovascular Simulator, and the AccuTouch Laparoscopic Simulator. More news on the company is available in the VMW August 2003 article Immersion Medical's simulator delivers improved training and reduced pain during invasive exams.


Leslie Versweyveld

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