Adelaide delivers remote surgical training to surgeons in Hokkaido


Friday, 11 June, 2021


Adelaide delivers remote surgical training to surgeons in Hokkaido

University of Adelaide experts have delivered remote sinus surgical training to surgeons in Japan. Professor Alkis Psaltis and Professor Wormald from Adelaide Medical School, along with their Japanese surgical colleague Dr Masanobu Suzuki, trained more than 200 surgeons: three performed simulated procedures at Hokkaido University in Japan while others, located throughout Asia, watched the course online.

The surgeons conducted the course remotely using Quintree technology, which allowed Professors Psaltis and Wormald to directly supervise the Japanese surgeons from their lab at the Adelaide Medical School and give them real-time feedback and instruction as they performed surgical procedures on 3D models in Japan.

“Using a secure videolink we were able to simultaneously observe in real time each individual Japanese surgeon as they performed endoscopic sinus surgery on the 3D models,” Professor Psaltis said.

Considering COVID-19 and the international ban on travel in 2020, Dr Suzuki, a prominent Japanese sinus surgeon from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, suggested the world’s first remote course. Dr Suzuki had previously spent a year of surgical observation and research at Adelaide Medical School under Professors Psaltis and Wormald.

“Our surgeons received real-time feedback and instruction on their technique from Professor Wormald and Professor Psaltis. They, in turn, watched the surgeons performing procedures,” Dr Suzuki said.

“Even though the training was delivered remotely, a high degree of satisfaction was reported by the participants.”

Sinus surgery is a procedure that aims to open the pathways of people’s sinuses and clear blockages. This is an option for people with ongoing and recurrent sinus infections, abnormal sinus structure or abnormal growths in their sinuses.

“To carry out the training we used entirely 3D-printed models that were developed and created by the Adelaide-based company Fusetech. This replaced the need for traditional cadaveric material which is becoming increasingly difficult to source and has the potential risk of infectivity,” Professor Psaltis said.

“The anatomy of the models is identical to that of humans as they are printed using the digital images of patients’ CT sinus scans.

“The high-class materials used in their production result in an almost-human-tissue feel. With the constant evolution of the materials and technologies the look and feel of the tissues continues to improve exponentially,” he added. “Sinus tumour and bleeding models are currently being produced and could revolutionise a surgeon’s preparation for surgery.

“During the training we demonstrated septoplasty, endoscopic sinus surgery and management of carotid artery injuries,” Professor Psaltis said. “Since the course was run we have had requests from the USA, Germany, Russia and South America to run similar remote courses.”

Image caption: Surgeons undertaking training at Hokkaido University. Image credit: Dr Masanobu Suzuki.

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