Medical simulation is a developing field used in the education of medical students, doctors, residents, and many other medical professionals. Despite emerging simulation tools, little has been done to address surgeries in congenital patients, specifically with regards to the spinal cord. The objective of this project was to design, fabricate, and functionally evaluate a medical simulator to address the challenge of teaching the spinal detethering surgical procedure to neurosurgery residents. This simulator was designed to mimic anatomical and physiological characteristics of the lower lumbar region. Pressure sensors were used to quantify the forces that were applied to the spinal cord during the surgical procedure and a LabVIEW program was developed to monitor the pressure profile. The simulator was functionally evaluated by six residents, one fellow, one doctor, and two medical students. A conclusive, quantitative method for scoring these surgeries has not yet been developed, however, the residents and medical students were able to compare their procedures with those of more experienced doctors and fellows via qualitative methods. Future developments will include incorporating quantitative scoring methods as well as noise elimination hardware into the design.

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