Credit: Miyazaki Enterprises, LLC
OB/GYNs need to develop varied skills to perform pelvic exams, child birth, open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and vaginal surgery. Vaginal surgery is especially important to learn because surgical trends toward robotic or laparoscopic surgery may leave doctors less skilled in important techniques. For example, hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus) can be done through various methods, but the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology designates vaginal hysterectomies as the safest method for uterine removal. OB/GYNs need accessible, safe methods to practice.
The Miya Model™ simulates real surgical experiences to provide better training for residents in vaginal surgical techniques. The simulator provides lifelike skin and life-sized organs, realistic cutting and puncturing tensions, palpable surgical landmarks, a pressurized vascular system that bleeds when inadequate technique is used, and an inflatable bladder that can leak water if damaged. Currently, there is no commercially available simulator that provides this level of detail and training.
Furthermore, the model can be used to train in basic gynecologic procedures (speculum exam, pap smear, and bi-manual exam) in addition to more specialized surgical procedures. These include diagnostic exams and surgical methods to repair or treat pelvic floor disorders, which affect women of all ages.
Since 2015, NICHD has supported development of the Miya Model™ through SBIR funding. The project is currently in phase IIB funding—a critical period that helps bridge the gap between academic development and self-supported commercialization. The research team behind the model, led by Dr. Douglas W. Miyazaki, is conducting a multi-center study to evaluate whether the Miya Model™ and its curriculum will improve performance in the operating room.
If the results of the study are promising, the Miya Model™ can serve as a training system for OB/GYN residency programs to train vaginal surgery techniques and objectively assess a surgeon’s competency without any risk or harm to patients. The Miya Model™ can also be used by diverse residency, nursing, and allied health educational programs for basic gynecology training. Better training promises to improve patient safety, lower medical costs, and better health outcomes for women across the country.