Background: The expanding use of advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques demands more advanced training methods, objective measures of resident performance, and more realistic and anatomically correct training models. Materials and Methods: A new synthetic torso for urologic laparoscopy training was developed and assessed. The trainer, Lapman, was based on the Visible Human Model and has the exact shape of a human torso. The torso models the outer shape of the body and the abdominal and pulmonary cavities. Animal or synthetic models of the abdominal organs may be placed in the abdominal cavity. An abdominal wall provides access and seals the cavity and can be replaced after repeated punctures with laparoscopic instruments. The thoracic cavity connects to a pneumatic pump to simulate breathing. In order to render realistic mechanic properties, the torso is cast of materials with elastic properties similar to those of soft tissue and incorporates a synthetic skeleton. These similar mechanical properties and the thoracic insufflation create realistic ventilatory motion simulation. Results: Twenty-Five individuals-medical students, residents, and attending urologists-participated in a study comparing Lapman with a standard training box. Lapman presented several advantages over the traditional training box, specifically with regard to internal and external views and the incorporation of a realistically shaped abdominal wall. A significant and recurrent theme was the value of the synthetic wall as a tool to gain a greater appreciation of the importance of port placement. Study participants at all levels of training appreciated that Lapman gives a more realistic approximation of the operative procedure. Conclusions: The novelty of the trainer consists in its anatomic shape, realistic mechanical properties, and ventilatory simulation. This paper reports on its design, construction, and preliminary tests.
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