Education

Virtual Reality Laparoscopic Skills Training at WISE

General surgery resident Eileen Smith, MD, using virtual reality simulator in WISE Center.
General surgery resident Eileen Smith, MD, using virtual reality laparoscopic surgery simulator in WISE Center.

Residents and faculty at the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE) have the opportunity to evaluate the LaparoS, a new virtual reality laparoscopic skills simulator developed by the Swiss medical education company VirtaMed.

The LaparoS is a laparoscopic skills simulator, meaning it allows trainees to practice skills used in minimally invasive surgery. The simulator includes features focused on patient safety, operative teamwork, haptic feedback and a proficiency-based progression through skills training program.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to be among the first in the country to evaluate this new simulation technology,” says Michael Awad, MD, PhD, Director of WISE. “At WISE, we are committed to education by intention. We provide the most advanced simulation training opportunities to all our learners. Experience with new simulators is an important component of our innovative training program.”

The WISE Center is an American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institute (ACS-AEI). Training at WISE includes use of endoscopy and laparoscopic simulators, training in surgical techniques and instrumentation, cadaver dissection, instruction in emergent procedures and preparation for performing specific surgical procedures. The WISE Center provides essential opportunities for trainees to develop skills outside of the operating room.

Additionally, WISE offers an ACS-AEI accredited education fellowship, designed to develop future leaders and scholars in surgical education, simulation and training. Awad, who was inducted into the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators in 2020, serves as fellowship director.

Over a six-month period, participants at the WISE Center can utilize the LaparoS and provide feedback on the technology and its training programs. Washington University minimally invasive surgeons, general surgery residents and WISE ACS-AEI fellows have all participated in the evaluation process for LaparoS, gaining valuable insight into a potential future training modality for laparoscopic surgery skills.