Cadaver versus simulator based arthroscopic training in shoulder surgery

The Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences showed significant improvements in all elements of the course completion when it published results of a study into Cadaver versus Simulator Based Arthroscopic Training in Shoulder Surgery.

It is thought that in the US, 20,000 people a year donate their bodies (cadavers) for medical and scientific training purposes. During COVID-19, this has changed dramatically, with these types of training often understandably canceled because of the constraints imposed to control the spread of the virus.

Each cadaver has limited use for medical training even before the pandemic, and in many other countries, cadaveric training is not permitted, so there is huge potential for the growth in technology for training.

Throughout the pandemic simulation, training has been able to continue, and it is predicted that there will be a further shift towards mixed and virtual reality simulators.

The evidence base for medical establishments to rapidly transition to digital training solutions is strengthened by findings of a recent study that reinforces the outlook for simulation training in a post-COVID future.

Modern simulators are so advanced that they can realistically simulate the key elements required to teach a surgical procedure, including representing the physical anatomy for joint manipulation and palpation and on-demand complications and pathologies.

Physicians are able to repeat their training cases ad infinitum until proficiency using this method. Simulators also supply visual and quantitative feedback on damage, which is not possible with cadavers.

Gazi Huri, MD, Associate Professor, Hacettepe University School of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Turkish Academy of Science, Young Scientist Award Winner.

Gazi Huri, MD, Associate Professor, Hacettepe University School of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Turkish Academy of Science, Young Scientist Award Winner. Image Credit: VirtaMed

The recent study, which was led by Dr. Gazi Huri, Turkish Academy of Science, Young Scientist Award Winner, has highlighted the advantages of simulation training during arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

Trainees who were undertaking the European Orthopaedics & Traumatology Education Platform accredited Shoulder Club International Cadaver Course carried out surgery on either donated cadavers or the VirtaMed ArthroS™ simulator.

The results demonstrated that cartilage showed significantly less damage (30%), and course completion was 20% quicker when students trained via simulation, showing that simulator training is a competent training technology for now and the future.

VirtaMed simulators supplied trainees with visual feedback on damage caused to shoulder cartilage in the case of the Shoulder Club International Cadaver Course.

Trainees were much more aware and able to improve and adjust their methods accordingly. There was 50% more damage caused to the cartilage by residents that had only used cadaveric training as a result.

Gazi Huri, MD: Cadaver versus Simulator Based Arthroscopic Training in Shoulder Surgery

Video Credit: VirtaMed

Can simulators be the replacement for cadavers in the future?

The disadvantages of cadaver dissections have been highlighted during the pandemic. These include lack of objective training metrics, lack of replicability and, of course, the potential safety issues of close contact training.

Simulation training continued during 2020 and into this year because of its flexibility and the ability to train with added safety measures in place. The aim of this study was to research the efficiency of utilizing medical simulators in surgical training as a replacement for cadavers.

The results demonstrated that all students, both the simulation and cadaver groups, achieved the proficiency levels needed to be competent in arthroscopic shoulder surgery, yet there were further positive outcomes from those training on the ArthoS™ simulator.

“It is obvious that precautions taken for the Covid-19 pandemic would last for a long time. This circumstance highlights the importance of less crowded, individualized educational models in the medical field.

For the fields such as orthopedics, where practical training and hands-on education are an essential part, Virtual Reality Simulators can be considered as the best solution. As far as we know, this is the first time a study of this sort has been undertaken.

With the shift to VR simulators rapidly increasing in the medical training for several procedures, we wanted to demonstrate that the shift is beneficial to the industry. According to this study, we are able to state that VR Simulators are just as effective as cadavers for training arthroscopic procedures.”

Dr. Gazi Huri, Associate Professor of Orthopedics and Traumatology at Hacettepe University

This article shows that now is the time to invest in simulator training and benefit from training residents more safely, faster and with advanced proficiency.

Image Credit: VirtaMed

About VirtaMedVirtaMed

VirtaMed believes that all patients should experience world-class surgical excellence. Since 2007, we empower surgeons to reach proficiency by integrating intelligent simulation into medical education.

Today, there are over 100 VirtaMedians worldwide, with innovation headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, and a global network of expert partners. VirtaMed’s simulation and advanced data analytics are embedded into medical education in collaboration with hospitals, medical societies, and life science companies.

VirtaMedians passionately live innovation in a customer-oriented, agile, diverse and inclusive work environment.


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Last updated: Jun 17, 2021 at 4:57 AM

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