Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Method for Analyzing Surgical Suture Closure and Providing Quantitative and Visual Feedback

Technology #5359

Suturing Skills Training Suturing is the foundational task in surgery and is also used by many clinicians in other disciplines outside surgery. All medical students complete a surgical clerkship and must learn basic suturing skills. Currently, surgical skills are learned through suturing and knot tying practice kits or surgical simulators. Problems with these systems include not giving performance feedback or not allowing practice on realistic, tangible materials. A system that allowed users to practice on real materials, while providing objective assessment of suturing performance, would lead to greater competency of students and training physicians, and provide a platform for training practicing physicians as well that need re-training.

Suture Technique Assessment A method for objectively assessing suturing performance has been developed by researchers at the University of Michigan. An image analysis program allows users to capture an image of a suture closure end product and then receive quantitative and qualitative feedback on their performance. The program identifies individual stiches and extracts geometric measures of those stiches that define suturing performance. This software has the potential to be packaged as a standalone application for computers and mobile devices or as a web-based application, hosted on a website. This technology can be used both as a training tool for students and learning physicians, and as a tool to assess real-time clinical performance in the operating room or other clinical setting.

Applications • Surgical skills training • Real-time clinical performance assessment • Research tool for collecting and analyzing surgical performance data

Advantages • Gives users specific feedback on how far they are deviating from accepted standards by analyzing geometric characteristics of the suture end product. • Gives automatic feedback on surgical performance without supervision of an instructor. • Offers both quantitative feedback and the ability to practice in a real, 3D environment with actual materials and tools. • Gives real-time assessment, allowing surgeons to revise a closure during a procedure if necessary.