Self-taught surgery using simulation technology

Behnoosh Samadi

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Behnoosh Samadi
Intern, Hornsby Hospital, Sydney
MBBS (UNSW, 2010)

Behnoosh graduated from UNSW in 2010 and is currently working as an Intern at Hornsby Hospital, Sydney. Her elective experience fuelled her passion for surgery, particularly fostering an interest in laparoscopic upper gastrointestinal surgery. Behnoosh hopes to specialise in this area but also has interests outside of medicine, which she hopes to continue during her busy work years. She dabbles in the fine arts, languages and soccer.

During my elective term in early 2010 at the Royal Free Hospital, London, I was presented with a fantastic opportunity: to learn how to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure. The challenge was for myself, a medical student and complete novice in laparoscopic surgery, to use the hospital’s state-of-the-art screen-based simulation technology to become proficient in a specific operation within six weeks in this rapidly advancing area of surgery.

My training was to be undertaken using the Simbionix LAP Mentor (Simbionix, Cleveland, Ohio, USA): an advanced piece of technology made up of a computer with simulation software and accompanying hardware, consisting of ports and instruments. The difference between this and a video game is the presence of haptic feedback; when you hit something or pull it, you feel the corresponding tension, making it a highly realistic representation of surgery…