-By Alan Golombek
Far, far away, in a micro-gravity operating room, simple drainage catheters, chest tubes, and IV infusions do not function. There is no Central Supply of surgical instruments nor is there an on-call surgeon headed toward the Space Station. When resources are scarce, distances great, and environments challenging, advanced 3D printing to create specifically what you need with precise properties and dimensions, quickly, and on site becomes a priority. Be it parts for repairing transport, housing, equipment, or conducting surgery.
This was part of the award-winning presentation by Dr. Jacques Zaneveld, Co-founder of Lazarus 3D, to NASA experts last week before they won the highly coveted 2018 NASA iTech Cycle III competition in Hartford, Connecticut. In a separate competition, Lazarus 3D was also recognized as Top 15 Semifinalist Startup of the year 2018 at the Innovate Celebrate conference in Boston days earlier, October 15th.
Lazarus 3D Founders accepting their NASA iTech and Startup of the Year awards
One of hundreds of applicants, Lazarus 3D showed NASA their ability to create and print highly realistic, anatomically accurate, three-dimensional copies of human anatomy. These models are used to train medical students, practice in simulation labs, demonstrate medical devices, present patient-specific models in personal injury trials, and perhaps soon, provide astronaut rehearsal and realistic practice before performing an emergency appendectomy on a crew member while on the moon. Utilizing a proprietary patent pending process and multiple materials, Lazarus 3D creates a variety of precision standard and customized models of body part with the proper hardness, dimensions, softness, internal structures, and more. Their high-fidelity human models have the demonstrated potential to decrease medical error and OR time, increase competency and confidence, promote best practice, and improve surgical technique. Lazarus 3D’s technology creates customized products that can improve patient outcomes and meet needs – on Earth, and soon, in Space.
Read about the NASA iTech Winners here!
See more at Laz3d.com
-By Alan Golombek
Healthcare Innovation Institute (Hii) is thrilled to share a remarkable surgical training advancement, bringing patient anatomy to life. Imagine the potential of combining radiologic data and several silicone materials to create life-sized, hands-on models with the appearance, feel, and resistance of human anatomical structures to provide a very high-fidelity surgical experience.
From individual organs to complete systems, Lazarus 3D has created thousands of models (including normal, diseased, customized, or patient-specific anatomy). These organ copies are used for a wide variety of surgical and interventional training, medical device use development, clinical trial preparation, Resident preparation, demonstrative evidence for court cases, validation of competency, and more. These durable models have also consistently outperformed expectations. In addition to providing the most convincing surgical simulation available, the models have demonstrated potential to reduce OR time, aid surgical decision making, promote best practice, reduce adverse events, and positively impact patient outcomes.
How realistic are these models? Lazarus 3D models have gained the notice of NASA as a valuable technology in space exploration. They have also been invited to present at an upcoming American Hospital Association (AHA) Executive Forum for having practical solutions with potential to reduce healthcare costs and improve outcomes. Furthermore, by partnering with specialized surgical teams to create models of highly complex patient-specific surgical models, which can be used to facilitate communication with patients and help train residents and medical students.
Over the past few years, Lazarus 3D models have likewise earned the attention of a constantly growing list of clients, including:
-Texas Children's Hospital, MD Anderson, Cleveland Clinic
-Baylor College of Medicine, Boston University, Johns Hopkins
-Karl-Storz, Olympus, Cooper Surgical
-3D Life Prints (UK), Urolift, Boston Scientific
Lazarus 3D has developed an exciting and promising patent-pending process and product with ample potential to change the approach to surgery. The extraordinary realism provides the perfect tools to improve surgical expertise and patient outcomes. Please take a look at the links below. Be prepared to be amazed.
See surgical videos using Lazarus 3D models and hear what the surgeons say here:
Literature from Baylor College of Medicine here:
Healthcare Innovation Institute (not for profit, Hiinstitute.org) endorses Lazarus 3D as significantly contributing to quality and outcome improvement in healthcare.
Surgery is a skill, and like any other skill people improve with practice . This should not be surprising to anyone - but what is shocking is the lack of good training models. For example, let us consider laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal), one of the most common laproscopic procedures. The main training methods available for this surgery consist of practicing on the organs of dead pigs or using computer-based simulations. Unfortunately, there are problems with both of these methods. The body of a dead pig, for instance, responds quite differently than that of a live patient. Computer based simulations are even worse, as they cannot truly mimic the haptic feedback surgeons get when performing a real surgery. Indeed, a recent paper reviewing these practice techniques concluded:
"For trainees who are proficient in basic laparoscopic skills, the long-term advantage of additional procedural training, especially on a virtual but also on the conventional organ training model, remains to be proven."
Due to the limitations of current practice models, residents often learn key skills on the job, typically under the supervision of an experienced surgeon. When inexperienced surgeons perform laproscopic procedures, their patients can suffer higher rates of complications, longer surgery times, and longer recovery times . Indeed, early research on laparoscopic cholecystectomy has demonstrated that:
"90% of the injuries occurred within the first 30 cases performed by an individual surgeon."
This statistic indicates the dire need for improved training methods that allow surgeons to improve their skill before operating on patients.
It is important to stress that this is not the fault of the medical schools, hospitals, or the residents, who are doing everything they can to make sure every operation is successful. Instead, the problem is the lack of good training tools that properly emulate real life surgery. By giving residents life-like training models to practice on, training programs could ensure the residents are proficient before operating on patients. This has the potential to reduce complication rates, save lives, and save hospitals up to $53 million per year by reducing operation times.
These observations motivate us here at Lazarus 3D to create surgery models, like our laproscopic cholecystectomy model, that improve the healthcare system and give residents the tools they need to be confident and successful during their first live operation. Ongoing research will help us determine the effectiveness of this new generation of life-like, 3D printed models built off of actual patient data.
Thank you for reading my first journal post, and please let me know what you think about the topic in the comments!
~Dr. Jacques Zaneveld
: Moore, M.J. and C.L. Bennett, The learning curve for laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The Southern Surgeons Club. Am J Surg, 1995. 170(1): p. 55-9.
: Van Bruwaene, S., et al., Porcine cadaver organ or virtual-reality simulation training for laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a randomized, controlled trial. J Surg Educ, 2015. 72(3): p. 483-90.
: Krell, R.W., et al., Effects of resident involvement on complication rates after laparoscopic gastric bypass. J Am Coll Surg, 2014. 218(2): p. 253-60.
: Bridges, M. and D.L. Diamond, The financial impact of teaching surgical residents in the operating room. Am J Surg, 1999. 177(1): p. 28-32.