Lockheed Martin And MedOps Simulation Paves Way For Improved Surgical Suite Performance
AKRON, OH, 20-JAN-00 -- The N in ENT (ear, nose and throat) medical practice may never be the same again as otolaryngologists begin to incorporate Lockheed Martin's endoscopic sinus surgery simulator into their training regimens. The Akron, Ohio, business has teamed with MedOps, L.L.C. to market the tabletop device, selling its first commercial simulator to Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx., N.Y., for use by its residents beginning in January of 2000.
With 24 ENT residents at Montefiore and more than 120 specialists in the New York City area, Montefiore and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine provide an opportune stage for the commercial debut of this anatomy simulator. The simulator responds to voice commands to digitally 'hand' surgeons instruments and provide the 'push and pull' of endoscopic surgery, Henry Grausz, M.D., and president of MedOps, said.
Lockheed Martin developed the first endoscopic sinus surgery simulator in cooperation with Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash., and delivered it in 1997 to the Army. Since then, medical students and interns there have used the simulator as a hands-on training device. Lockheed Martin is readying another copy of the simulator for delivery in February to the U.S. Naval Medical Command in San Diego. Our experience in designing high-fidelity training simulators for military aircraft has enabled us to solve the technical problems associated with real-time simulation of surgical procedures, said Andrew Gurcak, Lockheed Martin medical simulation product manager.
The simulator uses equipment similar to that of an actual operating suite: monitors for surgeons to view procedures within the sinus passageways, endoscope, and ever-expanding array of instruments, and a patient that keeps going and going.
Sinus anatomy and surgery to correct physical conditions lend themselves to replicating with a simulator. The anatomy is very rigid, making its database modeling practical, and the surgery is classified as high risk, where repetitive training may make a difference in surgical outcomes, said Dr. Marvin Fried, Professor and Chairman of Otolaryngology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.
There are more than 400,000 sinus surgeries performed each year in the United States, and more than 15 million Americans are afflicted with chronic sinus ailments that this type of surgery could possibly remedy. Sinus surgery ranks among one of the more frequently litigated procedures, sometimes resulting in large judgement awards.
Each year 10,000 patients around the world are adversely affected as a result of a sinus surgery procedure. If improved training reduces that number by 25 percent, the installation of simulators would be more than paid for and may encourage health care insurance providers to require such training of surgeons, Grausz said.
During sinus surgery, a surgeon inserts a camera-tipped probe, called an endoscope, into a sinus passageway to view the procedure on a monitor as he works. Other instruments, such as miniature forceps, needles and scalpels, are moved into the passageway to hold back, inject and remove tissue. Surgeons must recognize anatomy landmarks to ensure they do not probe too deeply up the passageway into the brain or sever arteries. From novice medical student to specialist, the simulator presents ever more challenging training scenarios to inculcate users in the anatomy of the nose.
MedOps, L.L.C. is a Delaware Limited Liability Company founded in 1998 by Dr. Henry Grausz, Lt. General James Abrahamson, USAF (retired), and Mr. Eugene H. Kopf. MedOps holds the exclusive distribution rights for Lockheed Martin's Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Simulator, which it acquired in 1999 from Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems - Akron. MedOps has recruited a distinguished Scientific Advisory Board, including Dr. Marvin P. Fried, Chairman of Otolaryngology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Dr. Heinz Stammberger, Chairman of Otolaryngology at the University Medical School, Graz, Austria; Dr. David Kennedy, Chairman of Otolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Donald A. Leopold, Chairman of Otolaryngology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Dr. Frederick Kuhn, at the Georgia Nasal and Sinus Institute. MedOps is currently negotiating Sinus Surgery Training Facilities in medical teaching institutions throughout the United States, Europe, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Akron, Ohio, the center of excellence for simulation and training devices, is a premier supplier of lighter-than-air surveillance systems, tactical aircraft, infrared-based countermeasure systems and antisubmarine weapons systems.