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Surgical Simulation Tour launches in Strasbourg

September 29, 2020

VirtaMed and the French Association of Surgery (AFC) are excited to announce that the mobile surgical simulation lab will be making its first stop at the Institute of Image Guided Surgery (IHU) in Strasbourg on October 5.

Born out of VirtaMed and AFC's combined commitment to find innovative ways to deliver training under Covid-19, the simulation lab is set to travel to more than 20 medical institutions in France and provide residents with access to the laparoscopic simulator VirtaMed LaparoS™.

At the beginning of 2012 the French National Authority for Health (HAS) laid down a fundamental principle: never the first time on a patient. Over the last 10 years residents have been spending less and less time in the OR, mostly due to working time regulations. Professor Patrick Pessaux, believes, "if we want to achieve an equivalent level of training, we must find complementary and alternative solutions." 

This fact has only been amplified by the ongoing health crisis, which has been felt particularly strongly in Strasbourg. Cadaver training used to be the norm but the costs are high and the supply is limited. This is why the medical community turned to other living tissues, however this approach raises ethical considerations. Most recently simulation-based medical training has come to the spotlight and simulation is becoming the frame of reference for the education of health professionals.

All residents who visit the simulation lab will have the opportunity to practice and further improve a number of key laparoscopic skills, including camera handling, clipping, cutting and bleeding control. They will start each training sequence by positioning the virtual patient model appropriately and placing trocars in the correct location. Drawing on an innovative approach, the simulator also allows residents to practice the real OR team setup, including learning how to collaborate in limited space.

The AFC holds education as one of its main values and views the training of future surgeons as central to its activities. Striving to promote excellence in visceral surgery and to offer guidance in the ever evolving healthcare landscape, the Society recognizes the transformative role of simulation-based training in medical education. The 2020 AFC Congress was dedicated to simulation and highlighted its importance for surgical skill acquisition and patient safety.

Prof. Patrick Pessaux, President of the AFC and Head of the Digestive Surgery department at the Strasbourg University Hospital, said, “the mobile surgical simulation lab will play a crucial role in promoting simulation as a training tool across many of the University Hospitals in France. We are excited to partner with VirtaMed and bring the next generation laparoscopic simulator closer to our colleagues. The ongoing health crisis has impacted surgical training but this combined initiative demonstrates just how much a pioneering spirit can achieve. We very much look forward to welcoming the simulation lab in Strasbourg!”

The initiative will be hosted by the Strasbourg Institute of Image Guided Surgery (IHU). The Institute is a unique medical and surgical center dedicated to the management of digestive diseases offering personalized care using the least invasive techniques possible. It is also a research center that brings together teams who design and develop the instruments and procedures of tomorrow. Last but not least, the Institute acts as an international training center for professionals and students driven to learn the most advanced minimally invasive practices. As such the IHU is pleased to inaugurate the launch of the Surgical Simulation Tour.

Strasbourg University Hospital has 13 visceral and digestive surgery residents, covering all 6 years of specialty training. Each resident will receive 2 hours of team training on a course designed to assess their current competency level and focus on practicing specific laparoscopic surgical skills.

About the French Association of Surgery (AFC) 

Founded over a century ago, the French Association of Surgery has counted among its members the biggest names in French surgery and nowadays consists of more than 2000 surgeons. The AFC brings together several specialties of visceral surgery: oeso-gastric, hepato-bilio-pancreatic, colorectal, endocrine, parietal and bariatric surgery. To find out more, visit 

Association Française de Chirurgie
+33 1 45 44 96 77
Pr Patrick Pessaux, Président
+33 3 69 55 05 52

About the Institute of Image Guided Surgery (IHU) Strasbourg

IHU Strasbourg is a multidisciplinary centre committed to the creation and dissemination of innovative image-guided therapies for safe, targeted and personalized patient care. Its internationally acknowledged program of excellence - bridging patient care, translational research, education and technology transfer - has benefited from its successful operational collaboration and physical alignment with the University of Strasbourg and the Strasbourg University Hospital (HUS), creating a truly unique environment. The IHU promotes the development of image-guided precision surgery - augmented by virtual reality, robotics and Artificial Intelligence - and embed it within an innovative patient care model, with a focus on the treatment of digestive and liver diseases. 

Since 2019: 63 publications, 35 patents filed during the year, 8 clinical guidelines and consensus conferences, 34 ongoing clinical trials, 25 industrial partnerships, 3 start-ups over three years old.

To find out more, visit:

About VirtaMed 

VirtaMed is the world leader in medical training using mixed reality simulators for minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in general surgery, ob/gyn, orthopedics, and urology. Combining virtual reality graphics with original instruments and anatomic models for realistic tactile feedback. 

Phil Norris 
+41 44 542 91 11

Interested to discover more about surgical simulation?