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    Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery Makes Sense for Patients and Their Providers

Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery Makes Sense for Patients and Their Providers

Spine surgery has always been a relatively complex matter. It wasn’t long ago that patients needing a back or neck procedure had their surgery using an “open” technique. Over time, a myriad of procedures were refined thanks to advances in surgical instrumentation and techniques. Surgeons also now have a better understanding of anatomical structure as a result of advancing diagnostic imaging, cadaver training, and other tools. This understanding has elevated patient outcomes, particularly for spinal surgeries.

There is no question that minimally invasive spine surgery is advantageous for patients. The recovery period after surgery is typically shorter and more comfortable. With shorter incisions than open surgery, minimally invasive spine procedures have a lower risk of infection and blood loss. Today’s spine surgeon tends to be extraordinarily motivated to master minimally invasive surgical techniques and demonstrate proficiency that translates into successful outcomes. This is yet another testament to the validity of cadaver training. 

Minimally invasive spine surgery is not new. This area of medicine has been in an ongoing process of refinement for over half a century. The last few decades alone have brought significant advancements. With beginnings that included a small group of surgeons learning microsurgical techniques, minimally invasive procedural models have expanded exponentially throughout all of medicine, with one surgeon honing skills and passing them on to colleagues through formal training events. 

The value of minimally invasive surgical techniques is not limited to patients, though that is the ultimate goal. Surgeons also experience fewer issues when modern surgical methods are utilized. MISS spares tissue and nerves far better than open surgery while achieving the access that is necessary for a safe and effective spine surgery. Spinal surgeons must navigate a significant amount of anatomy, and today’s […]

July 15th, 2021|Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery|Comments Off on Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery Makes Sense for Patients and Their Providers

How Cadaver Training can Influence Rhinoplasty Outcomes

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons are under tremendous pressure to achieve optimal aesthetic outcomes for their patients. In the cosmetic realm, there may be no procedure that is more “high-stakes” than rhinoplasty. Tissues must be handled delicately to avoid damage or suboptimal results. Judging by the number of rhinoplasty revisions that take place each year, this is a procedure that requires a high degree of specific skill. Here, we discuss how one study points to the value of cadaver training for plastic surgeons who want to up their rhinoplasty game. According to one poll, it is estimated that over 90% of American plastic surgeons perform at least one revision rhinoplasty each year. Additional training may reduce this number. 

Rhinoplasty-specific skills can be obtained in a few ways. The most common model of education is for a plastic surgeon to complete academic training and residency. An additional layer of education is for the surgeon to participate in a cadaver-based program. In one study, researchers at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina compared these two models to assess how each may relate to rhinoplasty outcomes. 

A total of 50 plastic surgery residents participated in the study. Twenty five of the residents had no experience performing rhinoplasty. These participants entered a 40-hour cadaver-based program that took place over two weeks. In the control group were the other 25 residents. These participants did not participate in the cadaver-based training, but instead learned rhinoplasty techniques through an academic program. After the two week cadaver-based training, all study participants performed rhinoplasty on live patients. The surgical procedures were videotaped and assessed by evaluators who did not know the identity of study participants by watching these screenings. Participants were graded as:

Very good […]

June 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training, Surgical Procedure Trainings|Comments Off on How Cadaver Training can Influence Rhinoplasty Outcomes
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    Military Medics and First Responders Benefit from hands-on Cadaver Use

Military Medics and First Responders Benefit from hands-on Cadaver Use

As clinical medicine, including field medicine, has advanced and become more technological, students and instructors have faced nuanced challenges. Namely, does technology such as virtual simulation offer more benefit to those learning human anatomy than cadaver training? The argument for VR instruction has been strong. However, when we listen to students themselves, we gain clarity regarding the unparalleled value of donated human cadavers in all areas of medicine. Here, we’ll briefly discuss how an experiment performed at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas (AFNS) supports this training modality.

The cadaver lab experiment took place in 2016 in the Sustainment for Trauma and Resuscitation Skills Program, overseen at that time by Staff Sgt. Reginald Gilchrist. When conducting the program, Gilchrist explained the reasoning for cadaver-use in this way. He stated, “The high fidelity medical simulators we utilize during the course are some of the most advanced on the market, but still do not compare to working on cadavers.” 

Multiple bodies of research have confirmed the benefits of cadaver labs for medical students, first-responders, and even medical device developers. Data from numerous studies and personal student accounts reflect the value of a controlled training environment. Students learning how to address human conditions, including traumatic injury, experience a gamut of emotions. Is it not better for them to do so in a safe place using a cadaver than in a critical situation? 

In this way, virtual simulations simply cannot compare to the real-life scenarios faced by those on battle-fields and the streets, in which appropriate care is a life-or-death reaction.

When interviewed about the military cadaver lab in San Antonio, Gilchrist summed it up poignantly and directly, stating that, outside of working in a trauma unit, “most medics don’t get […]

May 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Military Medics and First Responders Benefit from hands-on Cadaver Use
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    Study Confirms the Validity of Cadaver Training for Emergency Medicine

Study Confirms the Validity of Cadaver Training for Emergency Medicine

In recent years as educational curricula have become more sophisticated, an increasing number of residents are expected to perform competently based on skills learned through simulation. Various simulation methods look good on paper. They are lower cost and more readily available than cadaver-based educational training. While this may be true, there are benefits to cadaver use that cannot be overstated. Here, we discuss the findings of a recent study that measured variables among a small group of emergency medicine residents after exposure to cadaver training versus simulation.

The pilot study that sought to discern the outcomes of cadaver training in comparison to simulation involved twenty-two senior emergency medicine residents. Participants had already completed their standard simulation training in tube thoracostomy and cricothyrotomy. After then performing these low-frequency procedures on cadavers, participants were surveyed regarding the accuracy of training. A 100-point visual analog scale provided necessary data to compare equality between the two scenarios, with 100 being equal. Additionally, participants estimated if comfort level with the performance of each of the procedures improved and, if so, how much. This was reported on a scale of 0% to 100%.

One-hundred percent of participants responded via survey. For the cricothyrotomy procedure, respondents measured the constancy of simulation training at 34.7 ± 13.4. The rating for cadaver training in cricothyrotomy was 79.9 ± 7.0. The simulation rating for tube thoracostomy was 38.4 ± 19.3 vs. 86 ± 8.6 for cadaver training. Comfort levels for both procedures improved an average of 78.5% among all participants, who cited superior tissue integrity as a critical aspect of care.

Med Ed Labs was established to advance knowledge and clinical skills across several fields of medicine. We believe that the more accurate the training model, the […]

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    Cadavers Play an Integral Role in the Future of Plastic Surgery

Cadavers Play an Integral Role in the Future of Plastic Surgery

The importance of clinical training is relevant to every area of medicine. While plastic surgery is largely perceived as “cosmetic” by the average consumer, it is much more. The plastic surgeon must have familiarity with deep planes of tissue, bone, fascia, nerves, and other structures of the face and body. While we have witnessed dramatic shifts in the education of new surgeons, we have yet to see an alternative to cadaver training. The reason is simple, the objectives of surgical training are better met when the anatomical specimen closely resembles an operative specimen.
The Value of Cadavers in Plastic Surgery Training
Plastic surgery is the repair or reconstruction of one or more parts of the face or body. Plastic surgeons may perform many rejuvenating procedures, such as facelift surgery. However, they also treat women who have undergone mastectomy surgery. They repair tissue that has been badly damaged in a traumatic event, such as a fire or dog attack. Some plastic surgeons are extending their technical skills into the area of transplant surgeries. The work performed by a plastic surgeon, then, dramatically affects their patients’ quality of life.

The success that plastic surgeons have achieved to date has been largely attributed to working with cadavers. This is a logical perspective, seeing that the basis of most plastic surgery procedures is to reposition tissue from one area to another. To fully understand the three-dimensional relationship of anatomical structures, a surgeon needs a lifelike model, and there is no model like the human body. In this way, cadavers play an integral role in the success of plastic surgery procedures. They are also a partner in building surgical confidence in a safe, controlled environment.

We’ve all heard unfortunate stories of botched plastic […]

Is Livestreaming the Future of Medical Training?

Many aspects of our daily lives have evolved as a result of the novel coronavirus. This is true on a personal level as well as a professional level. At Med Ed Labs, we’ve transitioned as necessary to make sure we continue to provide the services that doctors, first-responders, and other providers rely on to maintain their professional objectives. One way we’ve done that is to pivot towards live streaming as a teaching model. A medical live stream means that we can host surgical training in ways that colleagues and staff can enhance their skills safely without compromising course content. We are proud to head into 2021 with offerings that take us to hometowns, offices, and mobile labs across the country.  

How Live Streams Work
At Med Ed Labs, we customize training scenarios based on each client’s needs. Our clients choose the setting that is best suited to them, be it a local training lab, a Med Ed Lab facility, or their office. We then host a small surgical lab that includes only a few surgeons. As surgical or medical procedures are performed, they are live-streamed out to an entire team.
Live stream medical training is not a substitute for in-person interactions. They are, however, the best we’ve got at the moment, so we make them as sophisticated as possible. Live streaming is not without its benefits. While sending content out to a live audience, our team also records the training so participants who cannot attend live can watch a replay. While we look forward to a time when in-person trainings can resume, we also understand that many participants remain uncomfortable with live attendance. Using innovative technology, we’ve made it so that participants can receive the same level […]

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    First Responders are Facing More than Ever and This Indicates a Need for Advanced Training

First Responders are Facing More than Ever and This Indicates a Need for Advanced Training

Paramedics fill a crucial role in a safe and healthy society. The people who commit to the service of others face a whole new set of expectations today than existed just a few decades ago. Years ago, we didn’t have a pandemic posing an invisible threat to humanity. We generally had a basic arena in which emergency calls involved relatively clear-cut injuries and medical problems. Even in those “normal and usual” situations, a first responder had to have the ability to react quickly and appropriately.

The reaction that a first responder has been expected to demonstrate in the field has expanded significantly. Paramedics do much more than administer CPR and extricate patients from precarious situations. Today, the average day in the life of a first responder may involve a procedure like surgical cricothyroidotomy, needle thoracentesis, tube thoracostomy, or endotracheal intubation. The successful treatment of the patient requires critical thinking, bio-skills, and confidence. While confidence can be built on the job, there is a better way; a safer way.

Historically, paramedic training has relied on mannequin models for various bioskills techniques. This is a fine base but does not mimic what the first responder will encounter outside of their controlled clinical environment. What is most beneficial is exposure to human tissue. We provide this in state-of-the-art cadaver labs.

Cadaver lab training is not only for surgeons and other medical providers. Those who provide critical emergency services can significantly improve their clinical practice by working with cadaver tissue. Engaging in a comprehensive training course, the first responder expands their familiarity with physical landmarks on the body, internal structures, and other vital human characteristics. Such training makes a paramedic better at the procedures they may at some point be required […]

December 15th, 2020|Medical Training|0 Comments
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    Developments in Spinal Surgeries Provide an Opportunity for Professional Expansion

Developments in Spinal Surgeries Provide an Opportunity for Professional Expansion

Advances in surgical technologies have been occurring at an increasing rate. This means patients may be asking about innovative procedures more, which begs to question, what does that mean for the spinal surgeon?

The purpose of surgical advancement is to improve patient outcomes. In the area of spinal surgery, this means:

Developing minimally-invasive approaches to spinal conditions
Expediting patient recovery
Reducing the duration and severity of post-operative pain
Minimizing surgical risks
Improving the integrity of spinal fusions
Preserving optimal spinal motion in treated segments

These goals are achieved more easily with high-tech approaches. The use of robotics is a prime example. Robotic surgeries are minimally-invasive and very precise due to the use of 3D cameras and computer-assisted navigation. Robotic surgery may also reduce exposure to radiation during certain procedures.

Some of the recent advances that have elevated spinal surgeries include:
Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement
This procedure has begun to emerge as an alternative to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery for various pathologies. Studies suggest that the insertion of an artificial cervical disc achieves 4 to 7 years of clinical results. As clinical results have been established, surgeons have begun performing this technique as a two-level procedure.
Spinal Fusion
Over the past decades, spinal fusion surgeries have achieved better outcomes that include fewer complications and less post-operative pain. In addition to less invasive techniques, spinal fusion has improved with the development of innovative implants and cages that provide better fixation. Finally, surgeons have more bone graft options today than were available years ago.
Vertebral Augmentation
An injury such as a vertebral fracture has historically been a painful and challenging problem due to a lack of surgical repair options. Today, we have multiple surgical techniques to address this condition. Examples include kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty, […]

Why Cadavers are Integral to Quality Medical Training

Human cadaver training has provided meaningful service to medical students for many years. The approach to educating new physicians, as well as those with many years under their belts, may have changed over time thanks to new technologies, but this does not diminish the value of the occasional cadaver lab. Here, we discuss the reasons that cadaver training continues to be the gold standard and why this may never change.

Hands-on experience is vital to good medicine. Yes, discussion and nomenclature are necessary. However, practicing medicine requires touch. It requires knowledge of the variations in human anatomy from one person to another. This is especially vital for surgeons and is also necessary for those developing or using medical devices. Cadaver labs coupled with lecture brings learning full-circle.
No two bodies are the same. Of course, every medical student and physician knows this. But sometimes it is forgotten in the day to day realities of medical practice. Cadaver labs remind medical professionals that every body looks different and responds differently to medical therapies and that these nuances must be considered to accomplish the best patient outcomes.
Cadavers put clinicians face-to-face with a wide variety of pathologies in an educational setting. It isn’t enough to know the natural, normal anatomy of the body, medical providers must also know pathology and how it can look different in each patient.
Appreciation for the human body. Interestingly, cadaver training has been said to increase medical students’ appreciation for donations made to science. Moreover, clinical practice utilizing cadavers reminds practitioners that the human body deserves respect and gentleness at all times, perhaps especially when dealing with disease. In this sense, cadavers can enhance compassionate care.

Where Cadavers Come From
Students understand that […]

Continued Education is Critical During Times of Crisis

It’s safe to say that the emergence of COVID-19 has created a worldwide crisis. Doctors and researchers all around the world have massively shifted gears, and it does not seem as though we will go back to what has been normal for most of our lives. We can look at a crisis like this as unfortunate, which they are on some level, or we can look for the opportunity within them. The COVID-19 crisis is presenting the medical profession with the opportunity to use technology in entirely new ways, and we’re here for it.

Technology has played an increasingly important role in medicine in recent years. However, as we have stated many times, there is no substitute for in-person didactic lectures and hands-on training. These educational models have always been and will continue to be a cornerstone of medical education for the foreseeable future. Given the recent changes brought about by the novel coronavirus, large in-person conferences have gone to the wayside. Not forever, but for now. Fortunately, new modalities have emerged to fill in the gaps.

In a relatively short time, educators have found ways to circumvent our current challenges. E-learning platforms have been developed, patient videoconferencing has been established in practices around the world, and web meetings and live streams have been scheduled to maintain the high standards of medicine. We are proud to participate in this new wave of educational technology to continue empowering physicians and first responders with the tools they need to serve their patients well.
What the Pandemic is Teaching Us All
Pandemics are not the norm. The current virus is not an event we were prepared to face. Still, we have seen medical residents, seasoned physicians, and other healthcare personnel come […]

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