By collaborating closely with a Professor of Trauma and Orthopaedic surgery – responsible for developing practical and academic training programmes for new surgeons, PDR has designed a realistic, complex trauma simulation system to reproduce massive lower-limb and pelvic injuries caused by improvised explosive devices and gunshot wounds. The resulting simulation models reproduce complex injury patterns including details of the major blood vessels, nerves, muscle groups, muscle compartments and skeleton.Professor Ian Pallister of Morriston Hospital and Swansea University School of Medicine approached PDR frustrated by the problems associated with existing artificial mannequins or cadaveric material. Existing mannequins, although used regularly for clinical teaching at all levels, were single function, and featured poor quality soft tissue envelopes – in terms of the level of detail and their handling characteristics. Existing products could also be limited in terms of the extent of reproduced anatomy area. Cadaveric material on the other hand, is often from the frail and elderly – who may also have undergone a wide range of medical procedures having suffered from major illnesses. Simulating, controlling and repeating injury patterns were also very difficult.
PDR’s patient-specific device expertise was a perfect match for Professor Pallister’s desired level of detail. Donated CT data was segmented under close consultation – to create separate masks of the bones, muscles, urinary tract, bowel and blood vessels. This was a highly labour-intensive process – vital for achieving a high-fidelity, anatomically correct product. The fidelity was improved further by modelling fine details manually, and adding appropriate textures to the muscles, bladder and penis to improve realism.
PDR’s design engineers then translated this master model into a complex mould tool design to enable moulding of the outer skin, and some internal details. Alternative modules and inserts to simulate the effects of a blast injury were also created. In-house expertise on advanced manufacturing facilitated flexible silicone tooling for vacuum casting of muscles and internal organs from lifelike materials. This, in combination with bench pouring, dip-moulding and low-pressure injection processes completed fabrication of the first training model components – with a peristaltic pump attached to the vessels in the final assembly to replicate blood flow.
“The technology and knowhow at PDR have enabled me to turn ideas into reality, geared towards improving clinical care. From the development of highly realistic models for surgical training, pre-operative planning, intra-operative templating and even custom implants, the support I have had from PDR has been exemplary.”
PROFESSOR IAN PALLISTER
TRAUMA SIMULATIONS LTD. / MORRISTON HOSPITAL / SWANSEA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE