Funded by BFS

The ELITE (Endoscopic-Laparoscopic Interdisciplinary Training Entity) trainer is a new ex vivo model designed to train conventional laparoscopic and endoscopic skills and to perform hybrid interventions. This training entity is dedicated to the requirements of laparoscopy and endoscopy and, by realistic and functional replication of intestinal organs, also for NOTES techniques (Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery).

The ELITE, is a human-like phantom for ex-vivo training of endoscopic/laparoscopic surgery and NOTES techniques (see top figure). This new training model developed by our research group and now manufactured by Coburger Lehrmittelanstalt is a one-to-one reproduction of a female human torso, with a skin tainted, gas tight latex abdominal wall. It offers a highly immersive, three dimensional reconstruction of the abdomen. Organs were produced with different human-like characteristics. All intraabdominal organs (a complete gastrointestinal tract with mesentery and omentum, liver, gallbladder, spleen) were developed and designed separately in our laboratory together with CLA. The intestine has a realistic appearance and special valves provide gas tightness and thus realistic characteristics through the possibility to insufflate.

Beyond, the development of the organs enables to train on the model with electrocautery interventions. The possibility to dissect and remove an artificial gallbladder and appendix by using electrosurgery is an innovation, which is not provided by any other system yet

One recently published study confirms that ELITE is a validated and suitable tool to train different NOTES procedures. All subjects (novices and endoscopic/laparoscopic experts) passed a significant learning curve during the assessment. Further, experts can reliably be differentiated from novices. The evaluation of the model shows that 97% of the subjects considered the ELITE as a useful simulator for NOTES. Continuative studies to evaluate the model are under progress.