Immersion Medical introduces LaparoscopyVR Surgical Simulation System

San Jose 06 June 2007Immersion Medical has introduced the LaparoscopyVR Surgical Simulation System. The LapVR System, including hardware and software designed by Immersion Medical, comes in a self-contained cart and provides an effective and convenient tool to assist in training of minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures. Because of shorter patient recovery times and other benefits, as many as 70 percent of all high-volume surgeries in the United States are performed using laparoscopic techniques, and the trend is expected to continue. The LapVR surgical simulator supplies a safe and effective training platform to help acquire the skills needed to perform these surgeries.


The LapVR System was designed by reviewing the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) guidelines endorsed by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), conducting in-depth research of training needs, and receiving input from surgeons at world renowned institutions.

"The LapVR surgical simulator has been developed as a tool for teaching the basic and advanced laparoscopic skills that enable successful completion of complex laparoscopic procedures", stated Dr. Andrew J. Duffy, assistant professor of surgery at Yale University School of Medicine. "Simulation training is now an essential component of the education curriculum in many training centres and augments direct instruction from the attending physician. Immersion Medical's development team understands the unique issues and challenges of training surgeons in the 21st century and is dedicated to designing and manufacturing a product that can help improve surgical skills."

The base laparoscopy surgical simulator includes an Essential Skills module with 15 skill exercises, a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (LapChole) module with 18 cases, and an Administration module. The Essential Skills module includes unique exercises for developing camera navigation, cutting, clipping, adhesiolysis, and hand transfer skills. The LapChole module provides a simulated environment for removal of the gall bladder, one of the most common types of laparoscopic surgeries in the United States.

"The essential skills and procedures in the LapVR System provide valuable training for surgical students and help prepare them for laparoscopic surgery", stated Dr. Aurora D. Pryor, director of Duke University Minimally Invasive Surgery at Durham Regional Hospital, who also holds a biomedical and electrical engineering degree. "I was particularly interested in helping the company provide an accurate simulation of the tactile forces and camera behaviour experienced in laparoscopic surgery. Trainees need to learn to interpret the 2D camera view into what makes sense within the 3D body cavity. This is an acquired skill, and I think medical trainees will like and benefit from practising on this system."

The LapVR surgical simulator provides physics-based simulation that responds to user actions. Immersion Medical's TouchSense technology supports these responses with realistic graphical movement of tissue and organs and realistic forces felt through the trocar arms and handles. The surgical simulation system comes with a widely viewable monitor suitable for team training, virtual camera and tools, and modules packaged in an ergonomic, height-adjustable, wheeled cart. It also includes a curriculum that follows industry training standards, providing key material needed to administer effective training programmes for both individuals and teams. Institutions can also import their own didactic video content directly into the simulator for customized training.

The surgical simulator's Administration module sets out a suggested curriculum and also lets training administrators edit skills and procedures, set task parameters, create and assign courses to meet the needs of individuals and groups, and review and report on user performance. In addition, import, export, e-mail, and print capabilities are available within the Administration module.

"With the Administration module, the fact that you can keep electronic records and automatically track user practice time and progress is a great aid for medical education programmes", stated Dr. Joseph A. Iocono, paediatric surgeon and education director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Center at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. "Programme directors are also able to individualize courses based on the student's strengths and weaknesses, and that, in my opinion, is an ideal feature for everyone involved."

"We set out to provide very high-quality virtual reality simulations of the laparoscopic environment, which requires software that takes full advantage of the capabilities of the hardware", stated Mark Meents, vice president of marketing and sales at Immersion Medical. "We intend to expand our modules and procedures to make the system one of the most extensive in the virtual reality simulation field. It was designed as a multi-speciality platform with the ability to support general surgery, colon-rectal, bariatric, gynaecological, and orthopaedic specialities."

Immersion Medical Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets computer-based surgical simulation training systems worldwide. The systems integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics to create highly realistic medical procedure simulations that help train clinicians. The company's key product lines are the Endoscopy AccuTouch Simulator, CathLabVR, and LaparoscopyVR System.

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is a recognized expert in developing, licensing, and marketing digital touch technology and products. Using Immersion's advanced touch feedback technology, electronic user interfaces can be made more productive, compelling, entertaining, or safer. Immersion's technology is deployed across automotive, entertainment, industrial controls, medical training, mobility, and three-dimensional simulation markets. Immersion's patent portfolio includes over 600 issued or pending patents in the United States and other countries. More company news is available in the VMW May 2007 article Immersion Medical expands endovascular medical simulation capabilities.

Leslie Versweyveld

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