Background: According to literature evidence, simulation is of the utmost importance for training and innovative surgical strategies assessment. At present commercial physical simulators are limited to single or only a few anatomical structures and these are often just standard anatomies.
Methods: This paper describes a strategy to produce patient-specific abdominal silicone organs with realistic shapes and colors, starting from radiological images. Synthetic organs can be assembled in a complex physical simulator or, if paired with electromagnetic sensors, in a hybrid environment (mixed reality) to quantify deformations caused by surgical action.
Results: A physical trunk phantom with liver, gallbladder, pancreas and a sensorized stomach has been developed. It is coupled with consistent radiological images and a 3D model of the entire upper abdomen. The simulator has been evaluated in quantitative and qualitative terms to quantify its accuracy and utility, respectively.
Conclusions: This simulator can be used in the field of abdominal surgery to train students and as a testing environment to assess and validate innovative surgical technologies.
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.