Stories about: Innovation

A safer way to teach cleft lip surgery

A new cleft lip trainer makes surgery saferIn surgery, as in life, practice makes perfect. But in the case of a cleft lip, practice is tricky, because a mistake can result in permanent scarring or disfigurement of a child’s face. This was the problem Carolyn Rogers-Vizena, MD, a plastic and oral surgeon in the Cleft Lip and Palate Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, brought to the SIMPeds Engineering Studio. She needed a safer hands-on way to teach cleft lip surgery to residents and students.

“Very minute slip-ups can cause scarring that stays with a child as they grow. So as a surgeon it’s hard to let go of the reins and let my trainees take over,” says Rogers-Vizena.

Rogers-Vizena reached out to Andrew Hosmer, Project Manager at SIMPeds Engineering, part of Boston Children’s simulator program. SIMPeds is a collaborative cohort of engineers, doctors, educators, scientists, and business leaders devoted to increasing clinician preparedness through high-fidelity simulation. Hosmer and his fellow engineers spend their days creating “trainers” — highly realistic anatomical replicas that enable providers and students to practice procedures that can’t be learned on live patients.

“Ultimately, we’re in service to the hospital, with a purpose to train and reduce fear,” Hosmer says. …Read More

Assessing pain in our tiniest patients

Babies in the NICU can feel pain

An infant rests in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), recovering from elective surgery. She’s crying, but is it because the procedure caused pain, because she’s hungry or for some other reason? An inspired research collaboration between the NICU and the Division of Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital is determined to find out. …Read More

Preventing sports injuries through clinician-to-technician communication

Sports Injury Prevention Prescription SIPRx

For patients who are serious athletes or who have had a history of sports injuries, injury prevention is often a focal point. Advances in technology can now pinpoint where an individual might have a greater risk of injury, allowing injury prevention specialists to prescribe exercises that reduce this risk. For an athlete, learning exercises that may help prevent certain injuries — while strengthening areas of the body that are underdeveloped — not only reduces injury risk, but strengthens their game.

…Read More

Preparing patients for spinal fusion surgery

A nurse assists as a spinal fusion surgery patient practices giving a medical dummy an IV drug.
Hands-on experience before surgery day: A simulation of what to expect during spinal fusion surgery.

Several studies have contributed to the school of thought that thoroughly preparing patients for surgery can reduce their anxiety and even lead to better recoveries and outcomes. That notion appears to be corroborated by the first-hand experience of Michael Glotzbecker, MD, a pediatric spine specialist and surgeon in the Boston Children’s Hospital Spinal Program.

“In my experience, patients do better when they are well prepared for surgery,” says Glotzbecker. …Read More