October 7, 2020By Lance Baily

VirtaMed Launches New LaparoS Laparoscopy Surgical Simulator with Mobile Sim Lab Tour Across EU

COVID-19 has caused chaos across healthcare institutions around the world, especially for simulation programs which have had either to rapidly deploy specialized training services or completely shut down. But the reality is that healthcare professionals all still need to undergo simulated training to learn, train, and master clinical skills — related to the coronavirus or not. As such, we were excited to see that over the summer, Switzerland-based surgical simulator company VirtaMed took a refreshing road trip across the country with their first mobile simulation lab. Here we share some of the highlights from the trip which was also the launch of VirtaMed’s new laparoscopic simulator LaparoS!

COVID-19 has obviously brought a number of limitations to clinical training programs around the world, including by not limited to the cancellation of conferences, clinical rotations, elective surgeries and general courses. Outside of the short term challenges this can really affect clinical professionals long-term as there have been hardly any opportunities to practice complex surgical procedures without risks.

Refusing to bow to the Coronavirus, VirtaMed took the opportunity to provide expert hands-on surgical training for medical residents across the country of Switerland. Equipped with the latest mixed reality simulators, Switzerland’s first mobile surgical sim lab toured for three months, delivering risk-free training to the doors of University Hospitals. The mobile surgical simulation lab covered over 2000 kilometers across Switzerland and visited 16 Swiss University Hospitals, starting in St. Gallen, continuing to Lucerne, Berne, Geneva, and ending in Lausanne.

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Residents received training in different medical specialties, including orthopedics, ob/gyn, and general surgery. The residents could improve their performance in the most realistic and motivational medical simulation environment possible, which also included additional instruction by leading experts.

Dr. Martina Vitz, Head of Training & Education at VirtaMed shared “With this wonderful initiative we had the chance to offer training everywhere in Switzerland. For me it was an energizing “back to the roots!” I started my simulation journey more than 15 years ago in the laparoscopic training center in Zurich. With LaparoS VirtaMed now offers also laparoscopy training and the difference between now and then is significant. I am really proud that we could so positively contribute to surgical training during this crisis.”

A New Laparoscopic Simulator: LaparoS

One highlight of the tour was introducing the new LaparoS laparoscopy simulator. Developed over several years, the simulator benefited from wide-reaching firsthand feedback from the doctors across Switzerland. This laparoscopic simulator uniquely offers key preparation steps for laparoscopic procedures, including realistic patient positioning, free trocar placement and the ability for several surgeons to simultaneously operate on the same simulated patient.

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The LaparoS new training concept provides condensed training, focused on short sequences teaching transferable key skills, including instrument triangulation and bimanual coordination, anatomy identification, performing different dissection techniques, safe clipping and cutting, and complication handling.

The VirtaMed LaparoS features:

  • Innovative laparoscopic skills training derived from validated concepts
  • abdomen positioning and trocar placement to maximize patient safety
  • Condensed sequences teach key skills in realistic anatomical environments
  • Motivational learning with proficiency-based progression

Trainees learn key skills required to become laparoscopic surgeons, including instrument triangulation and bimanual coordination, anatomy identification, performing different dissection techniques, safe clipping and cutting, complication handling and more. All of these within training scenarios derived from Cholecystectomy, Appendectomy and Incisional Hernia procedures.

Participating residents shared their impressions and experience from the training with the surgery simulators. From the respondents 60% had already had experience with virtual reality simulation, and 30% of the residents had never used a laparoscope in the operating room before. The simulator gave these residents the opportunity to gain their first experience with a laparoscope and laparoscopic instruments to which they were extremely grateful!

100% of the residents considered surgical simulation training to be useful, and 80% wish for simulation training to be a mandatory part of surgical curricula, with an average of 40 hours of mandatory simulated training to be included as part of their core course work. Over the summer, more than 300 residents were trained on VirtaMed`s simulators during the tour.

Building on the success of VirtaMed`s Swiss training tour, the mobile surgical simulation lab crosses the borders into France and will provide medical training with the help of the French Association of Surgery (AFC), while simultaneously another mobile simulation lab will begin to tour Germany. We hope they will continue the same in the United States so we can join them one day in the hopefully not too distant future.

More About VirtaMed

VirtaMed is a Swiss company that develops & produces highly realistic surgical simulators for medical training. Surgeons use original instruments to train in a safe environment before performing surgeries on patients. They believe in customer orientation, agility, diversity and passion. They take joy in creating the best possible surgical training tools, and are proud to be making the world a better place. This is what makes up their company culture!

Since the company’s founding in 2007, a team of engineers focused on the future of surgical education have worked to combine customer orientation, agility, diversity and passion to create advanced surgical training tools. So far, various top-edge simulators have been developed and produced under their leadership.

The company’s mission is to alter the way medical skills are taught so that learners can receive feedback regarding their skill levels prior to treating patients first-hand. This helps to eliminate potential risk factors that could cause harm to real-life patients. In pursuit of this mission, VirtaMed’s vision is then to improve the quality of medical care with state-of- the-art, virtual reality-based medical training and education.

See More Great Stories from VirtaMed’s Tour!

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