A leading East Cost pediatric hospital is partnering with an Emmy-winning special effects studio to use the blood and guts techniques from monster movies and TV shows to better train surgeons.
Boston Children’s Hospital announced Monday that its simulation program has teamed up with Fractured FX to build more lifelike models to be used in surgical simulations. The California-based makeup shop — responsible for effects in everything from comic book movie Watchmen to TV series American Horror Story — has already used 3D printing to produce two lifelike dummies, complete with tissue that bleeds and pulsates.
Surgeons will use the dolls to practice delicate and complex medical procedures, according to a press release, and Boston Children’s is already looking to sell the models commercially to other hospitals in the near future.
“This is the nexus of medicine and art, surgery and cinema,” said Peter Weinstock, M.D., director of Boston Children’s simulation program SIMPeds. “Getting the look and feel right is very important, particularly to surgeons and proceduralists. To make simulations effective, you want to promote suspension of disbelief, to create an environment where everyone is believing that they’re working on a real child.”
The pediatric hospital caught wind of Fractured FX after seeing its work creating ultra-realistic surgeries in The Knick, a Cinemax TV series about a New York City hospital in the early 1900s, according to the release. Artists from the studio worked in conjunction with clinicians from the hospital and SIMPeds engineering experts to design and build the models.
Already, they’ve created two models, which were on display this week at Boston Children’s Global Pediatric Summit + Awards. One was developed to help surgeons put critically ill children on heart-lung bypass, which requires inserting tubes into the internal jugular vein and carotid artery. The other is for teaching surgical residents how to perform a “tricky procedure” called “endoscopic third ventriculostomy.” That procedure entails working perilously close to the basilar artery which, if torn, would kill the patient, according to the release.
More models are now in the works, including a cleft lip and palate, according to the release.