Jun 13, 2016 | By Benedict

3D printing giant 3D Systems has announced the release of the world’s first virtual reality training module for Laparoscopic Transabdominal Preperitoneal (TAPP) Inguinal Hernia Repair. The module is currently available for two kinds of 3D Systems simulator, the LAP Mentor and RobotiX Mentor.

Inguinal hernias, which occur in the groin area and which affect more males than females, occur when abdominal-cavity contents push through the inguinal canal. According to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), around 600,000 inguinal hernia repair operations are carried out in the US each year. Unfortunately, relatively few surgeons opt for Minimally Invasive (MIS) procedures to treat these inguinal hernias, instead choosing to perform more painful, more scar-inducing open surgeries.

The reason for this is simple: many surgeons are simply not yet trained in the kind of minimally invasive procedures required to deal with inguinal hernias, despite the shorter recovery time and other benefits associated with such techniques. Until recently, the only hands-on approach to MIS Laparoscopic Transabdominal Preperitoneal (TAPP) training involved training boxes and cadavers, to which surgeons do not always have access. 3D Systems, however, is hoping to reduce the difficulties associated with training for the procedure by releasing a new virtual reality training program, compatible with the LAP Mentor laparoscopic surgical simulator and the RobotiX Mentor simulator for robotic procedures.

3D Systems' virtual reality TAPP Inguinal Hernia Repair training module offers surgeons a new, repeatable kind of hands-on training, providing a realistic anatomical environment in which the operation can be practiced over and over until the surgeon is prepared to perform it on a patient. The module offers step-by-step guidance through a large part of the procedure, from identification of anatomical landmarks and key structures right through to peritoneum incision and the dissection and management of the hernia sac. The virtual reality module also helps surgeons practice decision making while providing objective measurement and assessment of performance. 3D Systems is currently developing further steps for the procedure, including mesh handling and peritoneal closure, which will eventually be implemented into future versions of the module.

“Our extensive and growing offering of physical and virtual 3D healthcare solutions provides the skills and means for medical professionals to overcome today’s challenges and advance the future of care,” said Kevin McAlea, Chief Operating Officer of Healthcare at 3D Systems. “Each of our targeted products responds to a need within the healthcare community and is the result of our close work and collaboration with medical experts. From educational training modules and simulation to patient specific pre-operative surgical planning to 3D printed tools and implants, we are dedicated to advancing 3D technology’s role in healthcare to improve the experiences and outcomes of practitioners, students and patients.”

Earlier this year, 3D systems widened its medical horizons when it opened a state-of-the-art healthcare center in Littleton, Colorado. The 70,000 square foot facility, equipped with 3D surgical training simulators such as the LAP Mentor and RobotiX Mentor, also contains 3D printing equipment for 3D printing surgical models and prosthetic devices.

 

 

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