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. 2016 Mar;50(3):462-5.
doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2015.12.020.

A Readily Available, Inexpensive, and Reusable Simulation Model for Teaching Ultrasound-Guided Abscess Identification and Drainage

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A Readily Available, Inexpensive, and Reusable Simulation Model for Teaching Ultrasound-Guided Abscess Identification and Drainage

Julie A Augenstein et al. J Emerg Med. .

Abstract

Background: The use of point-of-care ultrasonography as a noninvasive diagnostic tool for soft tissue infections has been shown to be superior to clinical judgment alone in determining the presence or absence of an occult abscess. As ultrasound-guided procedures become standard of care, there is an increasing demand to develop better and inexpensive simulation models to educate trainees. To date, there are no low-cost models for abscess simulation that can be constructed with minimal preparation time, be reused, and withstand multiple procedural attempts.

Objective: To create an inexpensive, readily available, and reusable homemade ultrasound phantom that simulates a superficial soft tissue abscess and can be easily constructed.

Discussion: We experimented with precooked polenta to create a model that would appear similar to human soft tissue under ultrasound examination. Paintballs were embedded in the polenta and evaluated at different depths until a sonographically satisfactory phantom abscess model was obtained. The use of a precooked commercial polenta phantom and commercial paintballs required minimal preparation and closely replicated a superficial soft tissue abscess on ultrasonographic examination. Various paintball brands and sizes were evaluated to confirm ease of reproducibility. The polenta can be reshaped easily and the model may be punctured or incised multiple times.

Conclusion: A homemade high-fidelity simulation phantom that simulates an abscess in superficial soft tissue can be made inexpensively in <5 min and reused for numerous trainees. This model allows for training for procedures such as ultrasound-guided abscess drainage.

Keywords: education; pediatrics/pediatric emergency medicine; simulation; soft tissue infection; ultrasound.

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