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Stony Brook Surgery Residents Compete at "Surgical Skills Olympics"
Simulated Laparoscopy, Performing 3D Exercises, Part of Innovative Training Model

STONY BROOK, N.Y.,September 19, 2011 – Dozens of General Surgery Residents at Stony Brook University School of Medicine 

Team Danovich won the overall event. Team members assembled with senior Surgery faculty, from left: Spyros Pagkratis, M.D.; Patrick Hartendorp, M.D.; Jared Huston, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery; Shubha Dathatri, Ph.D., Surgical Educator; Richard Scriven, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, and Program Director, General Surgery; Pamela Kim, M.D.; Soojin Ahn, M.D.; Svetlana Danovich, M.D., Team Captain; Apostolos Tassiopoulos, M.D., Director of the Surgical Skills Center; Jerry Rubano, M.D.; and Todd Rosengart, Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery.

battled each other during a display of their surgical dexterity, skills and speed at the first Surgical Skills Olympics. The innovative training module took place on August 31 in the Surgical Skills Center (SSC). The event is designed to be an objective and comparative assessment of the residents’ skills by senior faculty within the Department of Surgery. 

“We decided to create a fun but competitive event to measure the skills of residents in an ‘Olympic’ type format, with two rounds testing various skills, and a scoring process resulting with individual and team winners,” says Richard J. Scriven, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, and Program Director, General Surgery, School of Medicine. 

Three teams participated in the Olympic format, with a chief resident leading each team. The competitors were timed as they tackled each of the six surgical skills exercise stations. The exercises included using a laparoscopic surgery simulator to perform 1) open bowel and 2) vascular anastomoses (joining of two blood vessels); 3) a “peg transfer” that involves 3D skills on a 2D monitor to help enhance depth perception; 4) the laparoscopic “circle cut out,” an exercise to improve skills in optimizing tissue tension while performing surgery; and 5 & 6) “extra and intra corporeal knot tying,” a necessary skill for complex procedures. 

Residents took turns in a relay fashion at each exercise station and during both rounds. Chief residents also used an advanced simulator to test their ability to perform a laparoscopic gallbladder removal. After two rounds of exercises, the overall event winner was Team Danovich, named after chief resident Svetlana Danovich, M.D. 

While remaining intense with a competitive spirit, the residents also shared tips with one another on skills, approaches and what they discovered during the entire innovative training event. 

“The format of the event helps to push forward the residents’ skills in many aspects of training, such as laparoscopy, standard general surgery procedures, and minimally invasive techniques,” says Dr. Scriven. “We expect to expand the Surgical Skills Olympics to involve other Stony Brook Surgery Divisions, and possibly to also involve residents from other institutions.” 

The SSC, located on level 2 of the Health Sciences Center, opened in January 2011. The 1,800 square-foot facility is dedicated to surgical training of fellows, residents and medical students. Training modules are developed for all surgical training levels.



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