September 22, 2011
(CBS News) A popular saying in medical school has long been "See one, do one, teach one" -- meaning that young doctors are expected to learn as they go. CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook looks at one new technology that is changing the way doctors prepare for surgery.
Dr. Neel Kantak is a first-year plastic surgery resident at Harvard Medical School.
"I don't think that anything we do in surgery is natural," he said. "I think most of the movements are things people are not born with the coordination to do."
So Dr. Kantak and others come to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's skills lab to practice laparascopic surgery -- procedures done through tiny incisions. The hope is extra surgery training can lower complication rates for patients and costs for insurers.
"When you make the right move," said Kantak, "the tissue gets split the same way it would if you were in an operating room."
The virtual surgery simulator uses touch feedback to help surgeons hone motor skills -- like picking up small objects and knot tying -- they will need in an operating room.
"What the simulation lab allows us to do is develop the coordination," said Kantak, "so when someone tells us, 'This should be your next move,' you have the ability to actually do it with you hands."
The virtual training taking pl
ace in labs such as this breaks away from methods students have traditionally used, including practicing on live patients.