WCE 2019: Effective Utilization of LEGOs® to Create a Ureteroscopic Trainer for Urology

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) (UroToday.com) In her poster presentation, Dr. Sara Best presented her team’s work on creating a cost-effective ureteroscopic trainer for students interested in refining their flexible ureteroscopy skills outside of the lab. She mentioned that many models currently exist for practicing flexible ureteroscopy (fURS) outside of the operating room, ranging from those that are constructed from animal tissue (such as a pig kidney) to inanimate material.

At her institution, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, first-year residents learn fURS in a surgical skills lab but have no other opportunity to practice outside the operating room. Given that past studies have demonstrated that low cost, low fidelity trainers are effective for learning fURS early in urology training, it was the goal of her study to create a low cost, portable ureteroscopy trainer for learners to practice flexible ureteroscopy at a time and location of their choosing.

To address this need, Dr. Best and her team created a box trainer from a 40-quart plastic storage bin (61x43x20cm) and cut a 43x46mm hole in the end of the bin to insert a flexible ureteroscope. Then using interlocking LEGOs®, they created a maze consisting of a number of different colored chambers on top of flat base plates. The estimated cost of creating this apparatus was roughly $60.00 USD which, combined with the $1500.00 USD fURS device, came to a total of $1560.00 USD for her low-cost trainer.

Her results demonstrate that, with practice, first-year residents were able to display an average reduction in time needed to complete different trainer tasks of 32%. In conclusion, she believes that the box trainer met her two main objectives: creating 1) a low cost and 2) portable fURS trainer for students wanting to practice their surgical skills outside of a laboratory setting. While the model is far from being realistic, it has some benefit to novice learners who wish to improve their surgical skills and confidence when using a flexible ureteroscope.

legos as ureteroscopic trainer for urology

Presented by: Sara L. Best, MD, Department of Urology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin

Written By: Andrew Shea Afyouni, BS, Junior Research Specialist and Medical Student, University of California, Irvine Department of Urology, Medical Writer for UroToday.com at the 37th World Congress of Endourology (WCE) – October 29th-November 2nd Abu Dhabi, UAE