An Affordable Laparoscopy Trainer

PEORIA - A local medical student is making Central Illinois proud.

2nd year UICOMP medical student, Jonathan Jou, developed a device that can help surgeons in third world countries expand their skill sets.

“Medicine is very universal,” said Jou. “It doesn’t matter where you practice medicine. You read the same textbooks, you learn the same diseases and ultimately, the treatments are very much the same. The only problem is whether or not they’re available monetarily.”

Jou went to Ethiopia through his internship at JUMP.

It was designed to learn about surgical procedures in rural areas.

While there, Jou noticed medical classrooms had more students that most.

“What normally was a 10 student classroom, becomes a 100 student classroom,” said Jou. Each student gets 1/10 of exposure and they don’t really get the surgical training they originally got.”

Because of this inflation, the area sees more complications during surgery.

That’s when Jou thought of a way for med students to get more practice.

“The idea is that having a trainer, where they can practice at home, will help train specific skills,” said Jou.

He developed a laparoscopy trainer.

The device represents the upper cavity of the human body.

It allows surgeons to get hands-on training and develop their technique.

“You want to learn how to do the operation,” said Jou. “You want to feel the body. You want to understand what an organ feels like, what the cameras looks like, what all the instrumentation really feels like in your hands.”

Not only will the device sharpen surgeons’ skills, it will also help medical centers save money.

“I thought that might be feasible to them to actually make a cheaper table model of that that’s cheap enough and that’s available in terms of the materials they could find out there,” said Jou.

Jou’s trainer uses basic materials such as PVC pipes and cheesecloth.

Compared to similar, more high-tech trainers, it will be almost ten times cheaper.

“Simulation can be cheap,” said Jou. “And the action might be sort of a gateway to allowing for places that don’t have the funding or don’t see the merit on simulation to get the first hands-on experience.”


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