24 February 2015
The Medical Simulation Centre at the Royal Free Hospital has become the first centre in Europe to have the LAP Mentor III, a laparoscopic surgical simulator that enables learners to practice their surgical skills at all levels and across disciplines including gynaecology, urology and general surgery.
Dr Pasquale Berlingieri, lead for screen based simulation at the Royal Free London, said: “The LAP Mentor III is designed to increase patient safety by raising the confidence of surgeons. The simulation machines allow surgeons to acquire skills in a controlled environment that can be transferred to a real operating setting.”
This latest model improves upon previous versions in two key ways: it has adjustable height, making the training experience more comfortable, and adjustable force feedback. Force feedback (haptic feedback) means that the virtual anatomy responds as real anatomy would and being able to adjust this means surgeons can regulate the force feedback to better replicate a real environment.
Consultants set benchmark expert metrics for procedures which learners must meet. Learners can create their own profile and use computer generated feedback to chart their progress and visualise their learning curve.
The Medical Simulation Centre facilitates surgical education by exposing doctors to distributed practice, also known as ‘low dose high frequency training’, where learners do small chunks of training each day.
“Low dose high frequency training is the best way to acquire and retain long-term surgical skills,” says Dr Berlingieri. “Our open access, 24/7 simulation centre provides learning for the 21st century.”
The centre is accessed an average of 3,500 times per year by learners, offering a “unique opportunity in a unique setting,” continues Dr Berlingieri.
The brand new, purpose-built Medical Simulation Centre was formally opened in July 2013 by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England. It is the only centre in the UK open 24/7 for learners to access; a major requirement for doctors and medical students on busy schedules.
Charlie Hill, teaching fellow at the Royal Free London, said: “The LAP Mentor III is an absolutely fantastic machine that provides an unbelievable opportunity for learners keen to develop their surgical skills. Learners can spend time honing and developing their skills so that by the time they are in a real life situation they have the confidence to deal with it.
“The simulated environment is a great time to learn the anatomy and physically manipulate tissue in an accurate environment.”
The LAP Mentor III provides a virtual laparoscopy, or keyhole surgery, training experience of procedures including cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder), ectopic pregnancy, sigmoid colectomy, appendectomy, gastric bypass and nephrectomy.
The LAP Mentor III was purchased with support from a grant from The Dinwoodie Charitable Company to the Royal Free Charity.
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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.
The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.
In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London.