"Suturing and tying knots within the abdomen are among the most difficult skills that a laparoscopic surgeon needs to master", stated Dr. Parag Bhanot, assistant professor of surgery at Georgetown University Hospital. "I was impressed that I could mimic the same motions in Immersion Medical's LapVR system that I perform in the operating room. The training modules are very realistic and avoid the typical video game appearance; thus, making it a very valuable and effective teaching tool."
Because the algorithms that drive the simulator's responses are physics-based, the LapVR system can render very realistic tool-tissue interactions. "In the LapVR simulator, we're providing a major step-up in the training environment for these skills", stated Dr. Kevin Kunkler, vice president and medical director of Immersion Medical. "For example, the system recognizes whether the user has double looped the suture, or when tying knots, whether they crossed in front of or behind the other length. These are maneuvers a surgeon needs for locking down knots and for completing surgeries successfully. So, the LapVR surgical simulator provides a high level of certainty about a user's performance, which is exactly what you want in a medical training programme."
The simulator's suturing procedure provides practice in ligating loops, simple-interrupted, continuous, and horizontal-mattress techniques. Instead of presenting an artificial object for suturing, which is used in most other systems, the LapVR surgical simulator presents users with a realistic animated bowel of lifelike thickness. Users must correctly drive the needle through exterior and internal surfaces of the bowel, bring the cut edges together, and tie knots securely.
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 U.S. Market for Medical Devices - Opportunities and Challenges for Swiss Companies, Swiss Business Hub USA, Chicago, 2004). The LapVR surgical simulator supplies a safe and effective training platform to help acquire the skills needed to perform these surgeries. For example, suturing and knot tying are used in minimally invasive colon, gall bladder, gastric bypass, hernia, hysterectomy, and thoracic surgeries.
The LapVR surgical simulator's TouchSense technology provides physics-based responses enabling 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, Essential Skills, Lap Chole, Running the Bowel, Adhesiolysis, and Administration modules - all packaged in an ergonomic, height-adjustable, wheeled cart. Additional modules include OB/GYN Surgical Procedures and Suturing and Knot Tying. The system also includes a curriculum that follows the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) industry training standards, providing key materials 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.
Immersion Medical Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets computer-based surgical simulation training systems worldwide. The medical and surgical simulators integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics to create highly realistic medical simulations that help train clinicians. The company's key product lines are the Endoscopy AccuTouch Simulator, CathLabVR surgical simulator, LaparoscopyVR surgical simulation system, and the Virtual IV intravenous simulator.
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 700 issued or pending patents in the United States and other countries. More company news is available in the VMW March 2008 article B-Line Medical and Immersion Medical announce simulation technology partnership.