Gary Sutkin, M.D., director of the UMKC School of Medicine’s Surgical Innovations Laboratory, has received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop simulation technology that can be used to prevent surgical errors.
With magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a 3-D printer, Sutkin plans to create a high-fidelity pelvic simulator and use motion analysis to identify surgical errors involved in Midurethral Sling surgery.
Sutkin, professor of surgery, serves as associate dean for women’s health and is Victor and Caroline Shutte Endowed Chair in Women’s Health at the School of Medicine. He chose this particular surgery for his research because it is common in older women and includes a high-risk step. During the procedure, the surgeon must blindly guide a sharp, pointed steel trocar past vital structures, including the bladder, bowel, and major blood vessels.
Performed to improve quality of life, the procedure also has the potential for catastrophic outcomes.
The project will use MRI to create a virtual model of a human pelvis of a patient with reproducible stress urinary incontinence. From that, a 3-D model will be printed, assembled and tested for fidelity to human tissue.
A group of five seasoned surgeon who are experts in Midurethral Surgery and five surgeons who are novices in the procedure will perform the surgery on the model. Motion analysis will collect kinematic data of shoulder, elbow, and wrist motions. The information will be combined into a 3-D model to analyze movements that lead to the most common errors: perforation of the bladder or bowel, and injury to the external iliac veins.
Sutkin’s groundbreaking research has the potential to have a major impact on the prevention of surgical errors by minimizing patient distress and health care costs. Once successful, Sutkin said he plans to incorporate the technology into the School of Medicine’s surgical residency program and apply the approach to reducing errors in other surgeries.