Surgical Science

Surgical Science is a computer software company that has been serving as a leading supplier of virtual reality simulators and surgical simulators for medical training purposes for over 20 years. Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, the healthcare simulation company produces training systems for laparoscopic and endoscopic simulation that are used by medical training centers and institutes worldwide for practice, proof of performance and certification of learners, surgeons and physicians.

The mission of Surgical Science is to provide learners with a platform capable of training them in the fundamental and technical components involved in surgery before they set foot in an operating room environment. To achieve this goal, the company remains committed to providing state-of-the-art medical training simulators that focus on ease of use and validation.

The platform’s structured medical VR simulation training is proficiency‐based, and exposes trainees to exercises where pass levels are based on expert results, individual variations in training time and repetitions do not matter. In contrast to time and volume based training, proficiency based training allows for self‐paced practice and goal‐directed learning, giving a consistency of the final results because all examinees are held to the same performance standard.

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According to Surgical Science, the advantages of virtual reality simulators are well‐established: simulation training has a positive effect on the learning curve and improvement of basic psychomotor skills in the operating room. By using healthcare simulators, learners can practice their techniques and instrument handling skills in a realistic setting with patient safety in mind. The company’s vision is that every patient undergoing a medical procedure is able to be certain that their healthcare provider has been trained and certified in a simulated environment, enhancing their overall preparedness and situational awareness.

Surgical Science History

The Surgical Science brand began as an idea of Senior Gastrointestinal Surgeon at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Anders Hyltander, MD, PhD, in 1995. He believed that there must be a way that novice surgeons could be trained in critical skills and procedures long before entering the operating room.

Hyltander theorized that real-time simulators could be developed to bridge the gap between classroom pedagogy and patient. Putting his ideas into action, and alongside three skilled software engineers, Hyltander tested his hypothesis to great success.

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Four years after the company was founded in late 1999, the four entrepreneurs founded Surgical Science. By testing their surgical simulator hypothesis, they recognized the healthcare and education markets’ need for a comprehensive and dynamic virtual reality product that allows laparoscopic surgeons to hone their skills in a safe, rigorous and progressive way.

As more surgical simulations products were developed, several essential cornerstones were quickly identified. The company realized that future products must be flexible, upgradeable, run on a standard PC platform and represent state-of-the-art dynamic graphic simulations based on recreations of actual surgeries. Using this knowledge, Surgical Science’s initial product, LapSim, was established and launched in 2001. Since then, LapSim has expanded to include best-in-class procedural simulation for cholecystectomy, appendectomy, advanced suturing and anastomosis, gynecology, hysterectomy, bariatrics and nephrectomy.

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Today, one of the original software engineers who helped found Surgical Science, Anders Larsson, continues his work with the company, driving the technology forward as the Chief Technology Officer. With a legacy rooted in surgical medicine and technology development, Surgical Science continues to help medical professionals around the world train faster, safer and more efficiently.

Helping to spread the Surgical Science mission and the use of company simulators across educational environments, Surgical Science simulators have been presented at a variety of medical simulation conferences, exhibitions and shows, such as those hosted by SimGHOSTS, INACSL, ASPiH, SESAM, and the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSiH).

Surgical Science Medical Simulators

The first simulator produced by Surgical Science, the LAPSIM, offers advanced force feedback technology combined with powerful graphics and cognitive instruction. This allows the healthcare simulation tool to provide learners with an immersive, multi-sensory medical training experience.

The LapSim Basic Skills module includes a comprehensive portfolio of laparoscopic exercises that range from basic navigation to advanced suturing. Each exercise is customizable to present learners with complications and ongoing challenges. As for procedure modules, the LapSim suite is validated to provide a complete training solution for surgeons across multiple disciplines.

The solution comes with clearly defined learning objectives, procedural deconstruction capabilities and variations. Adding to the product’s list of features, the LapSim library of software modules provides trainees and surgeons with access to skill practice — essential to building surgical proficiency.

The LAPSIM essence helps surgeons maintain their laparoscopic skills and prepare for elective procedures. This laparoscopic training simulator extends the opportunity for learners to improve their fundamental surgery skills through standardized and measurable training. Skills are then evaluated against predefined parameters which provide detailed trainee feedback during a debriefing. Requiring minimal instructor supervision due to video tutorials, course management is made simple and grading is objective.

The company’s EndoSim solution offers endoscopic simulation training with a focus on usability, applicability in clinical education and continued technological and instructional advancements. With cutting edge flexibility, EndoSim delivers medical simulation training with unequaled graphics, usability and haptics (tactile feedback).

The EndoSim Fundamental Skills module offers a comprehensive portfolio of endoscopic simulator exercises that range from functions of the scope handle and tube, to loop reduction. Each exercise is customizable to provide complications and ongoing challenges. The EndoSim library of software modules further provides skill practice essentials to build medical proficiency.

TeamSim is a dynamic platform created by Surgical Science as an interprofessional education management solution, taking surgery simulation into real world teamwork. Using the LapSim as a base, the TeamSim package can lift team training exercises to new levels by immersing learners into realistic surgery scenarios while controlling elements such as bleeding and complications.

While innovations in laparoscopic surgical simulators have made an incredible impact on individualized training, there has been a gap between the experience of a single professional standing at the simulator and stepping into a collaborative OR staffed with multiple team members. This is why TeamSim gives the whole OR team the opportunity to practice and refine their communication and non-technical skills without any patient risk. With TeamSim simulated procedures, learners can build team communication skills in crisis and routine situations as well as developing the critical components of non-technical skills.

Simball Box is another Surgical Science that offers a structured way for surgeons and resident physicians to learn laparoscopic techniques. With the help of tutorial task videos, the solution is a natural complement to virtual reality simulators. With Simball Box, a hybrid boxtrainer, residents and surgeons can train with real instruments and objective performance feedback essential for structured learning.

Simball Box is equipped with a high-definition camera and advanced instrument-tracking that provides high-fidelity simulation and objective feedback. The data, which are visualized in convenient diagrams, show the economy of movement with a focus on the distance covered by the instruments, allowing for the assessment of a residents’ level of proficiency.

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