A new tool is at the disposal of those teaching arthroscopic procedures. An Arthroscopic Simulator provides students with an opportunity to work through problems and pitfalls and receive instant guidance on a potentially better approach, with no risk to patients.
The simulator consists of a computer and monitor, a surrogate model of the body part that will be “operated on,” and a pair of surgical “tools” — an arthroscope and probe. Tiny motors in the tools are synchronized to the simulated body part to provide an instant tactile response to the learner: maneuver the probe to a ligament on the display, and the probe will respond as though it is touching a real ligament.
A separate “mentor” program runs alongside the simulation software and monitors the student’s actions. When the student completes a task, the mentor grades his or her technique based on preset levels. If a student deviates from the proper technique, the mentor explains what the student needs to do to improve. Students aren’t allowed to progress to another task until they can meet standards set for the current technique.
The simulator is a great tool for teaching concepts and principles that can bring students closer to the real life situation.