As part of the TSSP, we believe that the surgeons of the future should all be involved in research.
However, opportunities are slim picking and as such we lead small projects with our students.
3D-printing for anatomical teaching
The teaching of surgical anatomy to medical students has historically been rooted in the ritual of dissection of generously donated cadaveric bodies. In recent years this ‘rite of passage’ has been filtered out in favour of textbooks, digital modelling computer programs, SECTRA systems and plastic models.
All of these have advantages and disadvantages for different groups of medical students and no one tool can claim to be the best.
3D printing technologies have very rapidly improved in their user-friendliness and cost-of-use and are being increasingly used in many industries.
This project aims to explore if 3D-printing can be both a useful and highly cost-effective tool to improve the teaching of surgical anatomy to medical students when compared to other tools. The results will be validated in both the UK (Newcastle) and Tanzania (Moshi) to understand if there are additional differences between its utility in countries with variable economies.
Basic Surgical Skills on a Shoestring
There are multiple challenges with regards to undergraduate surgical education. It is important to recognise these challenges so that we can improve teaching and pass on the desired skills to create competent, knowledgeable, confident and future-proofed surgeons. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were several problems that surgical education faced.
COVID has created a new set of problems with regards to undergraduate teaching. The usage of facilities and resources is now very limited. Due to social distancing measures, basic surgical skills such as suturing and knot tying cannot be taught face-to-face. The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh has announced that all exams, courses and other educational events are postponed until September at the earliest, having a detrimental impact on students and possible learning opportunities. Given the rapidly changing and unprecedented times, it may be beneficial to explore novel ways of providing surgical skills training for undergraduates and adapt the way we teach medical students.
There is currently no evidence to prove that basic undergraduate surgical skills can be taught at home via distance learning. We shall explore this platform and aim to explore if medical students may benefit from online surgical skills sessions. COVID has created a definite shift towards virtual teaching, and this study aims to evaluate this style of learning while understanding what its limitations are. Long-term, we also aim to understand the benefits of this new method, making comparisons with what traditional, in-person teaching currently offers to students.
3D-printing-enhanced pre-operative planning for surgical reconstruction of complex bony deformities - TBC