Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one of the most typical knee injuries, and it is particularly common among young athletes. A damaged ACL is usually treated with a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, where the injured ligament is removed and replaced with a tissue graft. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, as many as 100,000 such ACL reconstructions are performed each year in the United States alone. This procedure is part of training for almost all residents, although technically challenging.
“The truth is that most of the technical skills of ACL reconstruction are currently learned on patients during clinical care delivery”, says Dr. Robert A. Pedowitz, who was an invaluable help during the development of the ACL repair simulation. “It is challenging to translate three dimensional concepts into efficient and accurate surgical performance, especially when the procedure is visualized with two dimensional video arthroscopy. We need safer and more effective methods to reinforce these concepts of ACL anatomy and reconstruction – such as the VirtaMed ArthroS ACL Reconstruction Module.”
The most critical – and the most difficult – part of ACL repair surgery happens after the surgeon has removed the injured ligament and before she drills holes into the femur and tibia bones for the replacement graft: the physician has to identify the optimal location for the tunnels. The simulated patient cases with different anatomies, provided by the VirtaMed module, help a student gain diverse experience in this particular task; the final assessment report will show how well he performed the operation.
“I need one of these for my next arthroscopy course”, exclaimed Prof. Dr. Michael J. Strobel, leading surgeon at Sporthopaedicum in Straubing, Germany, and the author of several ACL reconstruction and knee surgery text books, as he tested the training module during the late stages of development. “So far I have seen nothing this good in the field of ACL reconstruction training”, Prof. Strobel adds.
In addition to simulating the actual procedure, the VirtaMed simulator provides trainees with extensive, high-quality didactic reading material created by Dr. Pedowitz. Furthermore, the simulator comes with a special 3D training module, where trainees can easily explore the knee from all sides, shift the location of the replacement ACL with a simple click, and experiment how these adjustments affect the joint function.
This unique teaching material, the use of original instruments, the tactile feedback provided by the anatomic knee model, and the highly realistic virtual reality environment make the VirtaMed ArthroS ACL reconstruction module the most advanced ACL repair training tool available.