Boston Children’s Hospital, Special Effects Company Debut Simulator Patient For Surgeons

BOSTON (CBS) — Medical science and Hollywood came together to create a first-of-its-kind training tool for surgeons.

Boston’s Children’s Hospital teamed up with a special effects company to make a simulator that looks, feels and even acts, real — and it could change the way doctors learn.

“It’s about the feel, it’s about the look,” says Dr. Peter Weinstock, who heads Children’s Hospital simulator program.

“These simulators, as realistic as they are on the outside, are as realistic on the inside,” he says.

“Fractured FX is a special makeup effects company in Los Angeles,” says Jason Raleigh a special effects artist at the company.

Fractured FX has done work for American Horror Story and for The Knick, a medical drama set a hundred years ago.

“We’re specifically known for medical realism,” says Raleigh.

Doing what each does best, they’ve created the next generation of surgical simulators.  The skin feels real and so do the organs. The blood flows realistically, and doctors can practice surgery, before the real surgery.

“The idea behind this is creating a simulation that is so real, that you can fool a surgeon into believing he’s working on a real patient,” says Raleigh.

“If you look at any other high stakes industry, whether it’s nuclear power, or you look at the airline industry or the Boston Red Sox, everyone practices before game time.  Medicine has been the last to be able to do that,” says Dr. Weinstock.

These lifelike simulators allow just that.  And once the practice surgery is over, the artificial parts can simply be replaced.

“We looked at this and said, there’s an opportunity here to change medicine and to move the needle,” Dr. Weinstock says.

The next step is to create more simulators and market them to hospitals around the world so surgeons can, in effect, rehearse.

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