How to build patient-specific synthetic abdominal anatomies. An innovative approach from physical toward hybrid surgical simulators

Int J Med Robot. 2011 Jun;7(2):202-13. doi: 10.1002/rcs.390. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology*
  • Abdomen / surgery*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Gallbladder / anatomy & histology
  • Gallbladder / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver / anatomy & histology
  • Liver / surgery
  • Pancreas / anatomy & histology
  • Pancreas / surgery
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Robotics
  • Silicones / chemistry*
  • Stomach / anatomy & histology
  • Stomach / surgery
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Silicones