VirtaMed, the world leader in data-driven medical simulation training, together with the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL), a public hospital of Luxembourg city, will develop a mixed reality simulator to support surgical skills training for advanced arthroscopic meniscus repair. Proficiency-based training is forecast to improve patient outcomes for sports medicine procedures.
Meniscal injury is one of the most common sports injuries and its incidence presently estimated at 60 per 100,000, though the true incidence is likely to be largely underestimated. Although more than 30% of meniscus tears are assessed suitable for repair, less than 10% are repaired internationally and partial meniscectomy remains the main surgical treatment option. This means that many patients today have part of their meniscus resected (permanently removed) rather than repaired.
Eurostars is a European joint program, co-funded from the national budgets of EUREKA countries and by the European Union through Horizon 2020. It focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises that invest a substantial part of their revenues in research and development, certainly the case for VirtaMed. The application process is hugely competitive, with 560 eligible applications submitted from across 36 participating countries.
The orthopedics and sports medicine department at CHL as the project partner brings necessary clinical experience to steer the project from the medical side. The team has published numerous scientific publications in internationally recognized journals and was among the first that developed and described techniques to perform advanced meniscus repair.
Prof. Dr. Romain Seil, Head Division of Neurosciences and Musculoskeletal Diseases at CHL said, “Practical training opportunities that meet the currently high levels of specialization necessary in orthopedic surgery are limited and expensive. It takes extensive training to master the surgical techniques required for advanced meniscal repair procedures, which have only been developed in recent years. To allow for secure repair and low complication rates, it is crucial to provide training simulators to practice safely and without harming patients. The next generation of surgeons will certainly use mixed reality simulation training in a systematic way in their training, and we see VirtaMed as the partner of choice to achieve this.”
As the project lead, VirtaMed has extensive expertise in developing the technology and educational concepts for mixed reality surgical simulators. The project will enhance existing capabilities that have been developed over the last decade and will trigger new innovations specifically for meniscal repair procedures. The final solution will be an important addition to the ArthroS™ simulation platform, which is the global leader in arthroscopic skills training.
Claude Hoeltgen, Senior Market Development Manager at VirtaMed, added, “We are extremely pleased to work with Prof. Dr. Romain Seil, an internationally renowned knee surgeon with an unmatched expertise in meniscus preservation. Until now, surgical simulators in orthopedics have focused on training fundamental skills, and this solution will benefit surgeons that are more advanced in their training. A technological breakthrough in mixed reality simulation is needed to address these difficult-to-teach meniscal repair techniques.”
The project is scheduled to start in September 2021 and will be completed within 2 years, with the solution made available worldwide on VirtaMed’s ArthroS™ training platforms.