Andrew Hendrickson, VP of Operations, Dean Hendrickson, Co-founder, SurgiReal Products & Professor of Surgery, Colorado State University and Grahm Hendrickson, VP of Product Development, SurgiReal Products
The concept of simulation was introduced to the world of medical education in an attempt to move away from theoretical approaches toward an experiential “hands-on” medical learning. Framed around the best standards of care, patient autonomy and safety, error management, and resource allocation, the idea seemed to have the potential to revolutionize the way students and healthcare professional were trained. However, in reality, the outcomes were far from perfect. For many institutions, simulated learning was nothing more than students and medical professionals practicing on animal skin, cadavers, or other surfaces that had no similarity to live human tissues.
“As students, we hoped that we could see enough surgery to figure out how to perform it. We sutured everything we could find: fruits and even carpet pads to practice. We never really understood that we were creating bad habits by using things that had no real comparison to live tissues,” shares Dr. Dean Hendrickson, DVM, MS, DACVS, and Professor of Surgery at Colorado State University. “We now realize how important it is to not only work on things that replicate live tissues but that we need to practice in the orientation that students will be suturing in. Students must not be in a situation wherein they learn suturing on their first patient. They need to be trained in a way that makes them competent and enables them to refine their skills as they proceed.”
Desiring to make surgical learning easier, more convenient, and efficient, Dr. Hendrickson co-founded SurgiReal Products in 2011—a medical device company that offers a wide variety of products including suture pads and training kits that simulate real human skin. “Our entire business is focused on patient outcomes. We help improve medical education and training to enhance patient outcomes by developing and producing our unparalleled trainers and medical simulators,” says Grahm Hendrickson, Vice President of Product Development at SurgiReal. Hendrickson further elaborates, “We are a company that strives to support students and educators through our surgical training products.” SurgiReal is committed to creating the most realistic and affordable training models, which help healthcare professionals build more confidence when working with actual patients.
SurgiReal works to combat the real struggle of bridging the gap between the didactic training that students undergo in classrooms and taking those skills toward patient care, while keeping the experience as similar as possible.
To that end, SurgiReal provides “life-like” clinical skills and surgical training technology to medical, veterinary, physician assistant, nursing schools, veterinary schools and their students. The proprietary suture training kit that is the flagship product for SurgiReal simulates real human skin so that professionals learn how to suture live tissues. SurgiReal offers different types of suture pads: single layer tissue pads, multi-layered pads, and other various simulated tissue pads. The translucent suture pads with incisions can be used to practice introductory suture patterns without the need for a scalpel. The pre-cut incision and suture guide dots take the guesswork out of the student’s suturing practice in the beginning.
We help improve medical education and training to enhance patient outcomes by developing and producing our unparalleled trainers and medical simulators
The multi-layer tissue pads mimic different layers of human skin. SurgiReal also offers the RealFlow 5-Layer Suture Pad, a suture pad that actually bleeds. A simulated system of vessels are added into the pad to augment the learning challenge of suturing while the patient is actively bleeding.
Designed to teach vessel ligation and bleeding management, the RealFlow suture pads also allow practicing with superficial and deep incisions, needle placement, uniformity of suture patterns, and knot tying. Another product, the I&D Suture Pad, has an embedded simulated cyst next to a simulated abscess to give students the ability to practice abscess drainage and closure, cyst removal and closure, and suturing. Apart from suturing kits, SurgiReal also provides models for venipuncture, dermal lesion, hollow organ simulation, and other human and animal simulations.
A unique aspect of these realistic simulators is that they can be used repeatedly by students. The suture pads give them more opportunities to practice and helps them improve their skills from the comfort of their home, library, or laboratory. As a professor, Dr. Hendrickson likes to have his students use the SurgiReal suture pads when they are first starting in the lab allowing him to provide immediate feedback in a comfortable arena. “My students generally take photos or videos of their work and share them with me, if they have any questions or queries. I meet with them occasionally to be able to provide immediate feedback. It is a great way for them to learn, polish and perfect their skills,” says Dr. Hendrickson.
Designed out of necessity for students, SurgiReal Products has successfully created more realistic training methods which allow for better education, better outcomes, and excellence in clinical skills and surgical training. “Practice doesn’t make it perfect; perfect practice makes it perfect. With our products, the possibilities seem endless and very exciting,” concludes Dr. Hendrickson.