We have worked for a few years with surgical special effects company Healthcuts to create realistic clinical simulations for training surgeons. Healthcuts produce extremely realist silicon organs complete with blood.
Silicon organs can be used directly to practice surgery on, but our client also often uses them animal organs such as porcine (pig) livers. These are also realistic, and cheaply available from the butchers.
Our challenge with this project was to create a realistic body shape within which to house these realistic organs that was strong, easy to use, hygienic and maintained the high levels of realism. It also need to support a removable silicon ‘skin’.
The resulting design includes a vacuum formed torso and leg pieces that maintain the illusion of a real body shape under the surgical drapes. There is also an ‘abdominal tub’ that houses the organs and ‘blood’ and can be easily inserted or lifted out of place. Attached to the top of the tub is a laser cut rib cage that supports the silicone skin and creates a realistic rib-cage profile in the skin.
This equipment can be used to simulation both open laparotomies, where a large incision is made in the abdomen, and laparoscopic procedures, also known as key hole surgery, where the whole procedure is done with thin tools through 1 – 3 small incisions.