International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery

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Low-cost Tablet Stand Mounted Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery Training Unit
Ayush Balaji1, Rishab Makam2, Tania Kumar1, Natasha Bocchetta1, Shantanu Bajaj2.
1Hull York Medical School, Hull, United Kingdom, 2Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust, Hull, United Kingdom.

Background: The project aims to make training for minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS) more accessible through a novel, low-cost training unit. This project describes a tablet stand mount-based simulator to create an immersive learning platform for surgical trainees. We aimed to make an open-sourced module, grounded in first principles that can be printed by anyone with access to a 3-D printer, with little to no construction and barriers to use.
Methods: After evaluating the different options for MICS trainers and learning the limitations such as the high cost and limited accessibility, we designed a solution. From a literature search to determine the challenges with MICS uptake amongst trainees, we found that more than the procedural skill itself, trainees needed time and exposure to MICS instruments as well as the principles of operating with a display. To this end, we engineered a training unit by integrating a commercially available tablet stand with custom-made MICS port modules for different incision types designed using 3-Dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) to allow for a multiport and single thoracotomy based approach. The unit is designed to be portable and facilitate ease of use.
Results: The training unit is currently being evaluated in a controlled educational setting and is planned to be integrated as part of MICS courses, to gain further evidence regarding its efficacy. We theorize that utilizing the module to increase MICS scenario exposure for trainees will allow for a marked improvement in trainees' technical skills, spatial awareness, and allow for improved procedural understanding.
Conclusions: This training unit represents a move forward in surgical education, offering a cost-effective and scalable solution to train cardiac surgeons in minimally invasive procedures. Further research will focus on integrating MICS specific modules and following advancements in procedures to allow for real-time upgrades to the training environment.


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