18 May 2009

You Can Train a Monkey to Do Surgery

You can train a monkey to do surgery! That's what one of my anatomy professors used to say -- and he is a surgeon himself, so he should know. And now, with improved surgical simulator trainers, you can teach monkeys to operate even more quickly, and with better surgical technique!
The researchers put the obstetrics and gynaecology medics in two groups - one which had the traditional training of working alongside doctors and tutoring and another which supplemented this with seven hours simulator training.

They found that those that used the computer simulators were twice as quick, taking just 12 minutes to complete the operation on a patient. They also carried out better procedures, according to a points system used to judge the quality of the work.

Lead researcher Christian Rifbjerg Larsen said: "Simulator training should be incorporated into the curriculum for all surgical trainees before they embark on patient procedures..."This can potentially improve patient safety and improve operation room efficiency." _BBC_via_FierceHealthcare
Just like flight simulators, surgical and OB simulators can provide a wider range of surgical complications than most surgeons-in-training might typically see. This will make them better surgeons -- monkeys or human. ;-)

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