Trainee surgeon devises clever way to develop his skills - by practicing on fruit

  • 24 days ago
A trainee surgeon has devised a clever way to develop his skills - by practicing on fruit.

Anthony Javed Machikan, 27, performs the procedures using a homemade laparoscopic training box and surgical instruments he was donated.

Using his device, Anthony performed laparoscopic procedures on strawberries, melon and grapes.

Anthony, a surgical resident at the Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, USA, said: "Just like every individual human, every individual fruit is unique in its own way.

"Human anatomy varies slightly in every case and training with fruit presents a slight variation in each case.

"Human tissue is quite fragile and sensitive. Any manipulation of the tissue must be precise and with immense care so that you do not inadvertently cause damage.

"Tasks such as peeling a grape actually allow you to learn sensitivity and care while manipulating the instruments.

"This translates to real life operating where your fingers have learnt muscle memory, knowing right amount of pressure to take so as to not destroy the grape."

Laparoscopic instruments are expensive so instead of buying a laparoscopic training box, Anthony bought a wooden box online.

The box contains two holes on either side that are for laparoscopic instruments and a hole in the middle for his iPhone camera to zoom in on what he's doing.

The device, which cost £100 ($128), allows him to practice training exercises in the box as if he's operating on a human.

Anthony, who is originally from Trinidad, said: "After taking part in a National Surgical Skills competition in Ireland, I realised how expensive the devices were.

"The cost to actually buy one of these kits was over £1k ($783), so I decided to make my own.

"I bought the wooden box online for £100 ($128) and then I asked a lot of surgical manufacturers if they could donate the laparoscopic instruments to me.

"Many of them said no, but two companies thankfully said yes and donated them for free.

"The instruments I was donated would cost around £2,350 ($3,000)."

Anthony started medical school in 2015 and always knew that he wanted to be a surgeon.

It will take another six years for him to become a qualified surgeon with more years needed if he decides to do fellowship.

The expertise Anthony has learnt from using the training box has directly translated to real life skills.

He was recently able to operate with real life laparoscopic equipment in Rockingham General Hospital in Western Australia while he was there for a year as a general surgery registrar.

He successfully completed 10 laparoscopic appendicectomies, where he was the lead surgeon.

Anthony's next goal is to begin practicing with robotic simulators in the form of Da Vinci robotic simulators.

These are highly specialised instruments that allow major surgeries to occur through extremely small incisions in a patient’s body.