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SIM Tank Names Top Simulation Project

The members of Team CardinalSim answer questions from judges during SIM Tank.

Simulation previews reality at the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience. Four simulation events have pulled back the curtain on what you very well could be using in your practices soon.

One of those events is SIM Tank, a competition modeled after ABC’s Shark Tank, to select the best simulator project out of 30 entries. Three finalists explained their projects to judges and a live audience Monday afternoon.

Taking first place was Team CardinalSim, which allows rehearsal of cranial base surgical procedures. The simulation system generates 3D models from clinical CT and MRI studies, which are examined using stereoscopic graphics and dissected virtually with haptic interfaces. Initial studies demonstrated that surgeons with various experience levels could replicate key procedural steps involved in temporal bone surgery.

Members of Team CardinalSim are Yona Vaisbuch, MD (presenter), Nikolas Blevins, MD, and Peter Santa Maria, all of Stanford University; Garret Locketz, MD, University of Pennsylvania; and Sumit Agrawal, MD, University of Western Ontario.

Finishing second and third, respectively, were Rebecca Harvey, MD, from the University of Michigan Health System, with a novel epistaxis simulator, and Nathan Wiebracht, MD, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, with a diverticulotomy simulator.

To create a novel epistaxis simulator for training, Dr. Harvey and her team modified a de-identified patient CT and designed a 3D model of the relevant skin/soft tissue, maxillofacial skeleton, and internal nasal anatomy, including the inferior, middle, and superior turbinates, septum, unicinate, ethmoid bulla, and sphenoid.

Using a modified intubation trainer, trainees can practice endoscopic treatment of Zenker’s diverticulotomy with Dr. Wiebracht’s simulator. A prosthesis adapted from a household glove was placed onto the native esophagus of the manikin. The thumb of the glove serves as the diverticulum and the forefinger as the esophagus.

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