Beaumont Hospital and Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems Program collaborate on project to retrain surgeons returning from active military duty

DETROIT - Beaumont Hospitals and Wayne State University’s Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems (SSIM) program will collaborate on research for retraining surgeons returning from active military duty with a $242,931 grant from the Department of Defense’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technologies Research Center.

Researchers led by Beaumont’s Charles Shanley, M.D. and WSU’s Professor Greg Auner, director of the SSIM program, will measure surgical skills and design retraining protocols for surgeons whose specialized skills may have depreciated during deployment or who need to learn new surgical advances developed during their time in the field. The research may also have implications for training of new surgeons, including those about to be deployed on active duty.

This pioneering research will pair the advanced simulation capabilities in Beaumont’s Marcia & Eugene Applebaum Surgical Learning Center with sophisticated motion and vision-tracking technologies developed by Wayne State’s SSIM program. The center is a virtual reality lab equipped with two full-scale operating rooms, patient simulators, a tissue skills lab and a distance-learning classroom.

Wayne State’s SSIM lab will equip a surgical simulator with hand and eye-tracking sensors and use real-time digital video analysis to give immediate feedback on the trainee’s performance during different tasks. These tasks will include both basic (e.g., knot- tying and suturing) and more advanced techniques (e.g., connecting two blood vessels). Reset training protocols will be developed by surgical and educational specialists to target skill deficiencies.

“To our knowledge, this is one of the first attempts to objectively measure technical skills in surgeons and to use that information to help them return to their pre-deployment skill level or better,” says Dr. Shanley, chairman, department of Surgery, Beaumont, Royal Oak, and senior vice president. “Objective assessment of surgeon performance using the technologies developed from this research will contribute greatly to improved patient safety and could potentially contribute to bioterrorism medical response.”

Professor Auner says: “The implementation of advanced and emerging technology will enable us to provide new insights on surgical assessment and greatly aid in the retraining process. This requires the pioneering of new technologies and understanding for the measurement of surgical skill sets and advanced models for individualized retraining at the highest skill levels possible.”

Beaumont’s Surgery department offers patients the latest minimally invasive technology and treatments, with care provided by highly trained physicians, nurses and technicians. Beaumont offers bariatric; cardiovascular; colon and rectal; ear, nose and throat; eye; gynecological; hand; neurosurgery; oral and maxillofacial; orthopedic; pediatric; plastic,:thoracic; trauma; urological and vascular surgery. Beaumont, Royal Oak is second in the nation for surgery volume, with more than 54,000 procedures annually.

WSU’s SSIM program is world-renowned for training researchers and educating students in the development of novel materials, methods and prototype devices for everything from automotive, environmental and biomedical applications to advances in energy, communications and aerospace technology.

WSU is Michigan's only urban public research university. With more than 350 degree programs and a location in the heart of Detroit's cultural center, Wayne State offers a distinctive educational experience to students from around the world.