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Surgery simulator at Methodist Hospital helping med students practice procedures

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There's a new tool in town to help future doctors that could operate on you one day. Instead of a trial by fire method, medical students at IU Health Methodist Hospital now have access to a surgery simulator that will allow them to sharpen their skills before operating on patients.

Residents and attending physicians can now practice arthroscopic surgeries over and over again before they're put in a real life scenario.

"It's very hard to teach arthroscopy to residents on live patients before they've devolved some sort of a baseline aptitude," Dr. Robert Klitzman said.

Arthroscopic surgery is commonly done on athletes or anyone who's suffered cartilage, tendon or other tissue damage in a joint. It's a non-invasive procedure using a medical scope and instruments inserted through a small incision in the shoulder, hip or knee.

“This is the one orthopedic residency within the state of Indiana so we are really supplying the people that are going to take care of this state in the future," Klitzman said.

The $200,000 simulator is available around the clock for practice. Even the professor says it's the real deal.

"I was surprised. I thought working with the simulator was going to be a little bit too easy and it really keeps you on your toes, it forces you to be really deliberate with your motions and be really particular in the way you're doing the procedure," Assistant Professor, Dr. Andrew Riff said.

The next step is to see how a doctor's skills on the simulator translate to the operating room.

"How well does this correlate with surgeon skill. We all know people are who are great video gamers but that doesn’t necessarily mean they're going to be great surgeons," Riff said.

This is the first arthroscopic simulator in use in Indiana.