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‘Unbelievable’ virtual surgery machines arrive at the Royal Free

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 March 2015

Surgeons Massimo Varcada, Elisabetta Moggia, Bimbi Fernando and Marco Anania try out the new simulator. Picture: David Bishop

Surgeons Massimo Varcada, Elisabetta Moggia, Bimbi Fernando and Marco Anania try out the new simulator. Picture: David Bishop

UCL

The Royal Free has become the first medical centre in Europe to install a pioneering simulator allowing staff to practice surgery virtually.

The Lap Mentor III machine allows surgeons at the hospital in Hampstead to practice a number of simulated surgical operations, including keyhole surgery, appendectomies and a gastric bypass.

Force feedback also allows virtual anatomy “to respond as real anatomy would”, giving the feel of tissue and bone.

The machine is based in the Royal Free’s brand new medical simulation centre, formally opened in 2013 and the only centre of its kind in the UK.

Charlie Hill, teaching fellow at the Royal Free, 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.”

Dr Pasquale Berlingieri, lead for screen based simulation at the Royal Free, added: “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.”


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