CSU Equine Surgeons Develop Lifelike Surgical Models

The products allow students to practice and refine surgical skills on realistic models that even ooze “blood.”
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Practicing surgical techniques on artificial skin that bleeds sure beats the alternative, Paul Ryan, a Colorado State University (CSU) veterinary student, says. Before SurgiReal suture pads, his material of choice was “bananas, lots of bananas.”

Now, students at CSU and 140 other medical, nursing, and veterinary schools nationwide train with patented SurgiReal body wall models developed by two Colorado State equine surgeons, Dean Hendrickson, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, and Fausto Bellezzo, DVM, Dipl. ACVS.

SurgiReal products allow students to practice and refine surgical skills on realistic models instead of the old standbys—carpet scraps, orange peels and cadaver specimens, chiefly pigs’ feet. Unlike those crude substitutes, the newer product’s training models have multiple layers and exude fake blood.

Inventors Hendrickson and Bellezzo formed their startup in 2012 with help from CSU Ventures, a branch of the university that works with CSU faculty on technology transfer and commercialization. This spring, with business booming, the two veterinarians received the CSU Ventures Award for Innovative Excellence, a sign of success in moving technology to the marketplace

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