Suturing is considered a fundamental skill in all areas of surgery. There is a lack of standardized scoring for microsurgical and regular surgical training to assess the performance of a surgeon. However, there is no widely accepted or used standard in microsurgical and regular surgical training to evaluate the performance by the surgeon. This results in the difficulty to adequately track the progress a surgical trainee is making these technical skills, particularly outside of a formal instructional setting.
We have developed an objective and standardized way to assess the quality of microsurgical suturing using image analysis. It allows the assessment to be done by a non-expert.
The scoring system for surgical suturing is based on mathematical parameters of sutures and their positional relationships. The assessor will take a photograph of the sutured item to be assessed, and use the software system to manually and/or automatically pick out points of interest related to the suturing. Based on these points, a score will be calculated for the sutured item. Beyond a final score, there will be sub-scores to provide granularity about the performance, so that feedback can be given to the trainee. The final and sub-scores will allow the trainee and instructor to better understand their technical deficiencies in suturing, so that future practice and training can be better focused.
This system can be used in formal instruction sessions to enable objective and repeatable assessments of microsurgical skill. Equally importantly, it can be used outside of formal instruction, for example if self- or assigned- practice to perform regular assessments so that the trainee and other stakeholders can use the assessments to guide training and to track performance progress.
The size of the surgical simulation market is valued at US$337.4 million in 2019, with a CAGR of 16.4% for the next 10 years. (https://www.psmarketresearch.com/market-analysis/surgical-simulation-market).
We are seeking partners who are interested in co-development and bring this technology to market.
The advantage of this system over existing suture assessment system includes:
- Objective. the system does not require a microsurgeon or expert to assess suture performance. Because it is based on mathematical parameters, it is truly objective. A short training in the software system will allow anyone to use it.
- Informative. Global rating scales are useful for assessment, but do not provide useful information about what areas need to be improved. Checklist assessment scores are subjective and require an expert. this system provides important and detailed information about the sutured product, so that the trainee can get immediate feedback about what was good and not. This facilitates reflection and a deliberate practice.
- Simple. It does not require elaborate equipment which is not accessible to many. Using physical trackers like in ICSAD also interfere with the actual surgical task. This system just requires a photograph of the product and software program.
- Extensible. In our initial use case, we have applied the suture scoring system to a fixed simulation model. However, the system is designed to be extensible. We envision use cases beyond microsurgery, to other domains of surgical training for example skin suturing.
- Affordable. We plan to make this system affordable to individuals.