Global Health Microsurgery Training with Cell Phones

Journal:

Annals of Plastic Surgery

Author(s):

Peter Deptula

Date Published: September 2015
Training and capacity building
Education
Economic impact and cost effectiveness
Microsurgery
Technology
OPEN PUBLICATION

Background

Lack of surgical care for trauma, burns, congenital anomalies, and other surgical diseases is a growing portion of global disability and death accounting for 30% of the global disease burden. Global surgical and anesthesia care aim to achieve excellence and equality of clinical care through leadership, innovation, teaching, research, and advocacy. Stanford University Division of Plastic Surgery faculty partnered with ReSurge International to teach reconstructive microsurgery in low- and middle-income countries.

Challenge

Global surgery teaching and training are challenged by limited resources. Surgical loupes and operating microscopes used to perform complex microsurgery magnify the surgical field are very expensive. Our goal was to identify low-cost alternatives to teach and practice microsurgery suturing.

Innovation

Use cell phone camera with zoom capacity to teach and practice microsurgery suturing.

Results

Cell phones with zoom feature are widely available even in low- and middle-income countries. A cell phone was placed on a stand over a microsurgery practice station. The camera was used to zoom and focus on the suturing station to mimic a surgical field with loupes or microscope magnification. Nine attending surgeons and 7 residents practiced microsurgery with microsurgical instruments and 9-0 nylon suture under the magnification of a cell phone camera. The Stanford Microsurgery and Resident Training Scale was used to track their progress. A feedback survey was given to the participants to identify the usefulness of the cell phone setup for microsurgery suture practice.

Conclusions

Global surgery teaching and training face many challenges especially limited resources. Identifying low-cost alternative is crucial. Cell phone camera with zoom is a low-cost alternative to loupes or operating microscope for microsurgical teaching and training.