Groundbreaking technology for surgical desexing skills

12 April 2012

A company that worked on the film The Matrix has developed groundbreaking technology which will help University of Sydney veterinary students improve their surgical desexing skills.

"The first year of a veterinarian's career can be both exciting and intimidating. A major expectation from day one on the job is that they will be able to desex cats and dogs," said Associate Professor Max Zuber from the Faculty of Veterinary Science.

This skill, of soft-tissue surgery on small animals, has previously been perfected solely by experience at the university hospital and at veterinary clinics.

"While students will continue to operate in those settings they now have the added opportunity to practise these skills on highly lifelike models or simulators," Professor Zuber said.

Working with Studio Kite the faculty developed a prototype of a silicon-based, lifelike model of a dog's abdomen that reflects the anatomical and surgical challenges of desexing, before final approval of a working model.

"The model we've created is a world-first in a couple of ways. First is that its look, its feel and its ability to be operated on is 'cutting edge'!

"Another major innovation is that the reproductive track is replaceable. To give students a true experience of desexing they need (in females) to remove the reproductive tract which is destroyed in the process. They can do that with this model because the reproductive tract is a replaceable part."

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