March 29, 2021By Lance Baily

UpSurgeOn Academy Revolutionizes Neuroanatomy & Neurosurgery Learning

To help lead the way in changing from educating surgeons on cadavers, the UpSurgeOn project strives to empower the learning and teaching methods of neuroanatomy and neurosurgery through high-tech cognitive, virtual and physical technologies. To reach a universal framework for all surgeries, the project envisions a new generation of highly-trained surgeons whom are certified through clinical simulation-based technologies. As part of this scientific, cultural and humanitarian revolution, UpSurgeOn intends on educating future surgeons using cadaver-free training.

Founded in 2015 by Federico Nicolosi, MD, UpSurgeOn was established as a solution to the steep learning curves, expensive programs, lack of healthcare simulation-based certifications and limited access to cadaveric dissection throughout the industry. According to the project, more than 5 million patient cases globally are not treated each year due to the absence of trained surgeons.

To reduce this number, UpSurgeOn invented the UpSurgeOn Academy, a system to guide the training of students and postgraduates in new methodologies. The integration between physical and digital technologies is the fire that gave rise to this scientific method to augment cognitive and psychomotor skills.

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Made by neurosurgeons for neurosurgeons, the UpSurgeOn Academy consists of a scientific method to augment cognitive and psychomotor skills. Using a high-tech sequence of virtual and physical technologies designed for mental and manual training, the academy’s foundation includes a novel process of 3D scientific modeling. This results in the most accurate surgical scenarios and tools.

Now, the project’s educational approach is based around mental training through educational applications, hybrid training through augmented reality, and manual training via BrainBox. For mental training, UpSurgeOn offers 3D support through virtual neuroanatomy and surgical simulation tools. The augmented reality (AR) software used for hybrid training fuses digital and physical tools from craniotomy to deep exploration. The manual training element is then completed through the use of lifelike, high-fidelity physical simulators representing a variety of surgical scenarios.

In the future, UpSurgeOn plans to make the same technologies available for spine surgery, ENT, maxillofacial surgery, general surgery and many others. Members of the project, which include neurosurgeons, residents, medical students, digital artists, and graphic designers, are already working to apply the same method to other surgical disciplines.

Headquartered in Milan, Italy, UpSurgeOn is supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) through the Horizon 2020 program (Grant no. 880895). The project is also supported by the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS), and many other institutions and key opinion leaders worldwide.

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UpSurgeOn Academy Library

The UpSurgeOn Academy is the integration of the three project products (Apps, AR and Brainbox) into a single high-tech educational program designed to support anatomical knowledge, surgical skills and procedural ability. The platform is the natural extension of the Standard Surgical Curriculum. The goal of the Academy is to empower and speed up the path from medical degree to residency, and finally to neurosurgical activity.

The UpSurgeOn Academy library summarizes numerous anatomical and procedural topics. The growing library is a place for learners to find accurate topics for rapid reference throughout their daily scientific activities. The authors of these topics are also all neurosurgeons, residents and medical students from different institutions and countries.

Within the library, one example of a virtual anatomy topic is the brain. Learners are able to browse subcategories including the interior surface, convexity, medial surface, main sulci, gyri and more. By further exploring these topics, learners can review images of the brain’s anatomy and read more about its physical components and its relationship between anatomical landmarks.

As for procedures, learners can navigate through the UpSurgeOn Academy for detailed information on the temporal, mini-temporal, mini-retrosigmoid, mini-pterional and pterional approaches. While exploring each approach, they will be presented with a list of items to keep in mind throughout these procedures, including highlights, positioning details and potential red flags. A step-by-step surgical guide is included as well.

UpSurgeOn Products

The Tabula Anatomica is the first anatomical poster made with high quality, scientifically accurate renderings. This UpSurgeOn product can be fully examined in AR to turn a work of art into a learning tool with just the use of a smartphone.

AnatomyARt combines science, art and AR to transform images into scientific knowledge and create an engaging cognitive experience. To engage with this product, the user must launch the “UpSurgeOn Neurosurgery” application, open the application and then open the “AnatomyARt” module included in the app for free. They will then be able to frame the entire Tabula Anatomica with their smartphone to enjoy an AR simulation experience.

Conceived to be integrated with an augmented reality app to improve the simulation experience, UpSurgeOn’s BrainBox is a neurosurgical simulator for both virtual and physical hybrid training. The product is a hyperrealistic simulator of neurosurgical approaches and intracranial scenarios. The BrainBox is modular; a learner has the ability to change the internal scenario, in order to switch from one approach to another.

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