In 1899, the first film of surgery was made in Argentina. The one-minute video, which showed a physician removing a lung cyst, was a precursor to one of today's most powerful teaching tools: surgical video simulation. Now, medical schools and residency programs around the world use video daily to train residents on the latest techniques.
“At The University of Tennessee Medical Center surgical simulation, including review of videos of surgeries you’ve performed, is an integral part of resident training,” said Nikki Zite, MD, MPH, FACOG, professor and Residency Program director in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Residents watch videos of surgeons from the medical center and around the world. Through these videos, residents gain knowledge by observing techniques, some of which they may not otherwise have the chance to see.
Putting “Game Film” to Work for Residents
As early as 2008, Wes White, MD, and his colleagues at other top medical institutions began recording full-length surgeries and editing them into educational videos. They presented the videos at national and international meetings, studying film to learn the techniques of world-class surgeons.
While at one of those meetings, White — who is the associate program director of the Urology Residency program and chief of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery – realized that he learned as much, if not more, watching his own surgeries. In effect, the film acted as a coach, giving him a fresh perspective on procedures he was already expert in.
He likened it to a high-performing athlete watching game video. He realized that watching their own videos could be equally helpful to residents, allowing them to make minute changes to their technique and improve the way they think on their feet.
Photography by Dean Baker