The mission of the Surgical Innovation Lab is to investigate what threatens patient safety in the operating room. We approach this complex problem through multiple methodologies, including bioengineering, and interprofessional and observational approaches. We are committed to involving learners from UMKC and strive to mentor each student's ability to acquire and critically interpret research data and apply it to theories of surgical learning and patient safety.

Motion Analysis Marker Capture. Mock Setup.
Motion Analysis Marker Capture. Mock Setup.

Motion Analysis Marker Capture. Mock Setup.

The Surgilab uses motion analysis to capture data related to the surgeon's movements. Motion capture markers are attached to multiple points on the surgeon practicing on a simulation model.

The surgical team
The surgical team

The surgical team

Surgery is a team sport. All members of the team are unified in accomplishing the same goal: Effective surgery performed safely.


Where We've Been

Meet the Team

Contact us

Who we are:

Welcome to Surgilab! Our lab was formed in 2016 in collaboration with the UMKC School of Medicine. Our research aims to understand how patient safety is threatened in the Operating Room and how to make surgery safer. As surgeons and researchers, we should investigate every surgical error, no matter how minor, and analyze it so we can identify a preventive solution.  We aim to approach this complex problem through multiple methodologies, including biomedical engineering, interprofessional collaboration, and ethnography, including film study of the operating room. Our goal is to reduce the surgical error rate As Low As Reasonably Possible (ALARP). Our research is generously supported by the University of Missouri and the Victor and Caroline Schutte Foundation.

In The News

Congratulations to Ashna Mahadev and Faith Mueller! They have each had their abstracts accepted for podium presentations at the 2023 Association for Surgical Education Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 13-15, 2023!

Implicit Communication and Miscommunication in Surgical Instruction – Ashna Mahadev

Cognitive Models for Mentally Visualizing a Sharp Instrument in a Blind procedure – Faith Mueller

Further Congratulations to Aarya Ramprasad, who  had her abstract accepted for Quick Shot Presentation at the 2023 Association for Surgical Education Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 13-15, 2023!

Language in the Teaching OR: Expressing Confidence versus Community – Aarya Ramprasad

And finally, to Da Yeon Roo, who had her abstract accepted for poster presentation accepted at the 2023 Association for Surgical Education Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 13-15, 2023.!

Seeing the big picture: full-scene intraoperative videography in surgical education research

Congratulations to Faith Mueller and Antonis Stylianou! They have each had their abstracts accepted at the 2023 Surgeons & Engineers: A Dialogue on Surgical Simulation in Chicago, IL, March 1, 2023.

“Estimating Surgical Instrument Position in Blind 3D Space during Simulated Retropubic Trocar Passage” – Faith Mueller

“Kinematic Differences between Novice and Expert Surgeons during Simulated Midurethral Sling Surgery” – Antonis Stylianou

Congratulations to Tara Krishnan and Kay Herzog! They have each had abstracts accepted for poster presentations at the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons 2023 in Tucson, AZ, March 19-22, 2023.

“The Impact of Facial Personal Protective Equipment on Speech Intensity” – Tara Krishnan

“The Impact of Preoperative HbA1c on Reoperation Rates in Women Undergoing Surgery for Stress Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Organ Prolapse” – Kay Herzog

Dr. Andrew McKenzie presented our research at the Linguistic Society of America 97th Annual Meeting 2023, Denver CO, January 5-8, 2023.

 “Take a bit off the top here”:Ambiguity and vagueness in the operating room – Ashna MahadevAustin BacharAndrew McKenzieGary Sutkin

Congratulations to Dr. Yugyung Lee’s lab at the Department of Department of Computer Science Electrical Engineering, at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering on winning 1st and 3rd places at the 2022 Fall Hack-A-Roo T-Mobile AR/VR Track!

2 Teams from her lab won awards:

1st Prize: Team: MedVR – Team Members: Alqarni Saeed, Albishri Ahmed, Rogers Morgan

MedVR is a VR application targeting the healthcare domain. This app makes the education and training of students in schools or hospitals easier. In addition, this app allows you to interact with different body organs for better visualization and learning. We have also added the ability to render Medical CT or MR volumes and interact with these files in many ways. MedVR is a promising 3D VR application that can be utilized by biology teachers as well as doctors in hospitals.

3rd Prize: WeLiveVR – Team Members: Duy Ho, Uyen Ho

WeLiveVR is a sub-Metaverse project to allow users to interact with the virtual world in many different ways via precious controller tracking and hand-tracking: surgery, entertainment, socialization.

Our research is making news! Click on the title to read the article.

P.R.N. News: UMKC professors study the impact of sound on operating room safety 

Kansas reflector: Prescription for faulty communication in operating rooms: Be explicit, not polite

UMKC Today: Art ands Science Collaborate for Safer Surgeries  – Dr. Sutkin and Dr. Brommelsiek co-presented this research virtually at a Webinar hosted by KU’s Center for Interprofessional Practice, Education, Policy, and Research (iPEPR) program

Of Notable Mention:

Congratulations to Dr. Patricia O’Sullivan – UCSF, on the occasion of being awarded the 2022 UMC Utrecht Harmen Tiddens Medal. Watch the lecture June 2, 4pm CET (7am PT, 9am CT). Flyer: https://tinyurl.com/2384pmu7. Access to the lecture:(Registration may be required) https://tinyurl.com/25vu3npn

Congratulations to Dr. Margaret Brommelsiek, whose abstract , “Poetics of Surgery and Artmaking: Haptic Perception through Subjective Embodiment”, has been accepted for a short communication at AMEE 2022



Recent Publications

*denotes student as first author

*Krishnan T, Rudy P, Viswanathan N, Brommelsiek M, Bachar A, Sutkin G. The Impact of Facial Personal Protective Equipment on Speech Intensity. Urogynecology: November 1, 2022 – Volume – Issue – 10.1097/SPV.0000000000001282
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000001282

*Arif MA, Stylianou AP, Bachar A, King GW, Sutkin G. Retropubic trocar modified with a load cell to verify contact with pubic bone. In Press, Surgery, 2022, ISSN 0039-6060 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2022.06.011.

*Balasubramanian S, Wang X, Sahil S, Cheng A-L, Sutkin G, Shepherd JP. Risk factors for development of acute pyelonephritis in women with a positive urine culture. Neurourol Urodyn. 2022; 1- 8. doi:10.1002/nau.25005.

*Saniya Ablatt, Xi Wang, Suman Sahil, An-Lin Cheng, Jonathan P. Shepherd, Gary Sutkin,
Reoperation rates of stress incontinence surgery in rural vs urban hospitals.
AJOG Global Reports, Volume 2, Issue 3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xagr.2022.100059.

Brommelsiek M, Krishnan T, Rudy P, Viswanathan N, Sutkin G. Human-Caused Sound Distractors and their Impact on Operating Room Team Function. World Journal of Surgery March 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00268-022-06526-9. PMID: 35347392.

Davies A, Wickoren NL, Brommelsiek M, Qureshi F, Cianciolo AT, Sutkin G. Unpacked expertise: Difficult mask ventilation, judgment cues, and critical decision making. Accepted for publication American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology Journal, Dec 2021.

Sutkin G, Littleton EB, Arnold L, Kanter SL. Optimizing surgical teaching through the lens of sociocultural learning theory. American Journal of Surgery, March 2022. EPub ahead of print.

*Mueller F, Brommelsiek M, Sutkin G. Mental 3D Visualization: Building Surgical Resilience for Performing High-Risk Procedures. Journal of Surgical Education. 2022 Feb 2:S1931-7204(22)00007-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2022.01.007. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35123912.

*Kurian R, Kirchhoff-Rowald A, Sahil S, Cheng A-L, Wang X, Shepherd J, Sutkin G. The Risk of Primary Uterine and Cervical Cancer After Hysteropexy, Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: March 2021(27)3:e493-e496. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000001030. PMID: 33620910.

*Liu C, McKenzie A, Sutkin G. Semantically Ambiguous Language in the Teaching Operating Room. Journal of Surgical Education. 2021 Apr 23:S1931-7204(21)00073-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2021.03.020. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33903062