Ex vivo, in silico, ex silico

The practice of medicine has been likened to both an art and a science.

Surgical training has used cadaveric material since at least the 14th century. In the last few decades, advances in computing power and material science are enabling more realistic simulation. Increased precision allows us to produce a range of digital and hands-on training models with graduated increases in complexity. These models enable trainees to consolidate practice through repetition and reflection.

In silico, computers are able to gather and analyse large amounts of data such as exact guide-wire placement, number of xrays, number of mistakes and improvement over time

By using a physical model, ex silico, the trainee is able to palpate, drill and practice spatial orientation just as they do in real surgery. There will always be a balance between precision and authenticity, since it is the variation in anatomy which makes the experience authentic.

This photograph shows a silicon cast of a paediatric arm, enclosing a 3d printed elbow. In the background an iPad, reliant on silicon based microchips, displays Bonedoc SCH, an augmented reality app producing live virtual X-Ray images of the elbow and surgical instruments.

Bonedoc SCH is still in the research phase, it is a collaboration between

  • Dr Phil Blyth
  • Dr Don Bae
  • Dr Louisa Baillie
  • Dr Haemish Crawford
  • Dr Kenneth Noonan

But if you want to fix a hip fracture hit the surgeon below.

The Bonedoc