Can computer-aided design and 3-dimensional printing be leveraged to develop a novel high-fidelity surgical simulator for facial flap simulation?
Seven expert otolaryngologist–head neck surgeons with fellowship training in facial plastic surgery validated the facial local flap simulator with high evaluations for physical attributes, realism, performance, experience, and value as a simulator.
Expert validation suggests that the simulator may be useful for medical education during residency training.
Facial flap procedures may be difficult for surgical trainees to conceptualize and challenging for supervising surgeons to allow entrustment early in training. Simulation outside of the operating room may accelerate and enhance the surgical education experience.
To design and manufacture a 3-dimensional (3-D)–printed, multilayer, anatomically accurate facial flap model for use in surgical education.
Design, Setting, and Participants
In this multicenter validation study, a 3-D–printed facial flap simulator was designed from a computed tomographic (CT) scan and manufactured for low-cost, high-fidelity simulation. Expert otolaryngology–head and neck surgeon feedback was acquired through surgical rehearsal and performance of 8 local facial flap procedures on the facial flap simulator by 7 otolaryngologists fellowship trained in facial plastic surgery.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Likert scale surveys were made based on evaluation criteria categorized into domains of realism, experience, and applicability of the simulator. Measures of central tendency, variability, and confidence intervals were generated to evaluate the outcomes.
Seven expert otolaryngology–head and neck surgeons completed a Likert scale evaluation survey containing quantitative analysis of 6 questions on physical attributes, 12 questions on realism, 8 questions on experience, and 4 questions on the applicability of the simulator. All expert surgeons were additionally fellowship trained in facial plastic surgery with their mean years in practice being 11.9. Overall evaluation demonstrated valuable ability of the simulator for medical education with suggestions for future directions. Importantly, the simulator was rated on a scale of 1 (no value) to 4 (great value) as 3.86 as a training tool, 3.57 as a competency evaluation tool, and 3.43 as a rehearsal tool.
Conclusions and Revelance
Expert experience with the local facial flap simulator was rated highly for realism, experience, performance, and usefulness. With slight refinement, the model has strong potential for broad use in training in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery.
Level of Evidence
Powell AR, Srinivasan S, Green G, Kim J, Zopf DA. Computer-Aided Design, 3-D–Printed Manufacturing, and Expert Validation of a High-fidelity Facial Flap Surgical Simulator. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. Published online April 25, 201921(4):327–331. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2019.0050
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