SimQuest LLC proposes to develop a physics-based vascular surgery skills training simulator. Although a number of endovascular skills training simulators exist, there are no simulators to teach the large body of non-minimally invasive procedures that vascular surgeons must master. This Phase I work will advance the state of the science in surgical education for vascular surgery by building from our prior simulation efforts in non-minimally invasive surgery to establish a technical foundation for a simulator that will enhance training by supporting the curriculum of the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery (APDVS). This significant step forward in surgical education will enhance outcomes of patients requiring non- minimally invasive vascular procedures.
The Specific Aims of this Phase I proposal are designed to address the essential technical areas that must be mastered to provide an effective simulation of a broad class of vascular surgery procedures. The four Specific Aims are to (1) simulate the isolation of vessels from surrounding tissue, (2) implement a general approach to computing how vascular clamping affects tissue and blood flow, (3) develop a simulation of vascular anastomosis that allows appropriate computation of pressure and leakage based on suture placement, and (4) develop a prototype curricular structure for use in conjunction with the APDVS curriculum to illustrate how an approach similar to that used by SimQuest for the American College of Surgeons (ACS) surgical curriculum can work. SimQuest's vascular surgical skills simulator will be uniquely suited to training surgeons in the complex procedures needed for resolving vessel-based blood-flow issues. When complete, this simulation will be an integral part of the curriculum of future vascular surgeons, and will pave the way for a more effective means for new technology and techniques-facilitated advancements to be adopted into existing practice.
The physics-based vascular surgery simulator to be developed during this project will fill a stated need for more effective training in vascular surgey. This advance in surgical education will enhance training by standardizing curricula, automatically tracking and assessing performance using objective criteria, and allowing trainees to practice to proficiency prior to operating on actual patients. Increased safety and better outcomes resulting from better trained surgeons will result in substantial cost savings as well as improved patient quality of life.