Temporal bone lab renovations will further strengthen residents’ surgical skills

Temporal-bone-lab-renovationsWhen the Eye and Ear Institute at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center opened in 2009, its temporal bone laboratory quickly became an integral part of the learning experience for future surgeons, including otolaryngologists and ophthalmologists.

Today — nearly 15 years and countless surgical simulations later — this vital teaching and learning space is getting a makeover. Once renovations are complete in 2024, the new temporal bone lab will offer a more modern setting for learners to hone sophisticated surgical techniques.

Hands-on training in a risk-free environment

For residents learning to operate within the head or skull base, repetitive dissection is key to navigating these complex areas and mastering various surgical techniques. To that end, the temporal bone lab allows physician learners to practice on fresh temporal bone specimens and full heads.

“We have 13 individual stations where residents can simulate procedures such as sinus surgery, skull-base surgery and oculoplastic surgery,” says neurotologist Oliver Adunka, MD, MBA, director of the Division of Otology, Neurotology and Cranial Base Surgery. “For our otolaryngology residents, the lab is where they start to become proficient in techniques like endoscopic middle ear surgery, semicircular canal surgery and mastoidectomy. But given the rapid changes in technology since the lab opened, it’s time to overhaul the space.”

Using technology to enhance teaching

Dr. Adunka says the biggest upgrade will be the installation of a digital video system that lets users transmit live surgery simulations to labs and lecture halls at other academic medical centers. With this technology in place, faculty members from the Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and Ophthalmology teams at The Ohio State University College of Medicine can also lead virtual courses for medical students or residents throughout the country.

The individual surgery stations will also be updated with new tools and equipment, including surgical microscopes, drills, endoscopes, microdissection tools, suction and irrigation, temporal bone mounts and high-definition cameras and monitors for recording and watching videos.

An investment in tomorrow’s top surgeons

The temporal bone lab renovations are being funded by the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Both departments will also share a full-time employee who manages day-to-day lab operations.

“It’s so important for our residents to have access to high-quality training activities like those that take place in the temporal bone lab,” Dr. Adunka says. “By honing their skills in a safe, supportive environment, they gain the confidence and expertise necessary to transition from the lab to the operating room.”