Published on 7/15/2021

The Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) and VirtaMed, the world leader in medical simulation training, announced updated and enhanced training modules for hip joint surgeries at the AOSSM-AANA 2021 Combined Annual Meeting. The announcement is the latest result of a collaboration agreement between the two organizations to advance and improve arthroscopy surgery skill training and develop standards for proficiency-based training curricula.

Six new AANA-defined guided hip diagnostic exams have been developed to train surgeons on correct instrument usage, anatomy recognition and diagnostic procedures. This is in addition to a collection of existing diagnostic and therapeutic cases, including femoroplasty. Simulation cases now highlight potential patient safety issues, letting surgeons learn from mistakes in a risk-free environment before moving into clinical practice. Impartial feedback reports, an essential element of effective learning, have been integrated and are readily available for training debriefing.

VirtaMed collaborated with hip experts Dr. John Christoforetti, Dr. Mike Gerhardt, and Dr. Anil Ranawat from the AANA Hip Taskforce.

Joseph C. Tauro, M.D., AANA Board Member explains “Realistic simulators are a critical part of training for Orthopaedic Surgeons. They allow for repetition, show critical steps and give feedback on performance. AANA is leading the way in surgical skills training.”

Hip arthroscopy is comparatively new territory for arthroscopists and has become one of the fastest growing subspecialities in orthopaedic surgery. However, hip arthroscopy is a complex procedure due to the depth and tightness of the joint, as well as the presence of surrounding nerve and blood vessels. Adequate training is essential for both new surgeons as well as experienced surgeons looking to add hip preservation to their practice. Yet, there is a shortage of opportunities for training due to a lack of hip-specific fellowships and the lower number of procedures conducted.

André Niederberger, PhD, Senior Product Manager for Orthopedics at VirtaMed, noted that “the collaboration between VirtaMed and AANA’s working group has been mutually beneficial. We have been able to combine expertise in simulation with expert medical knowledge to improve medical education and protect patient safety.”

Simulation training is a safe, risk-free and effective way to make up this experience shortfall. With this in mind, VirtaMed and AANA hip experts identified high-priority new cases and features with the most potential impact for training the next generation of surgeons. The VirtaMed ArthroStm is unique in simulation training as trainees are able to palpate and distract a physical model, create their own portals using original instruments, and use radiation-free virtual fluoroscopy to assess instrument trajectory and joint decompression.

The collaboration between the AANA and VirtaMed began in 2018, when the organizations signed a two-year collaboration agreement. The early success of the collaboration resulted in a three-year extension starting in 2020. To date, AANA experts have provided VirtaMed with input on cases and courses for training on the fundamentals of arthroscopy (FAST), and the knee and shoulder joints.

The new hip modules were unveiled at this year’s AOSSM-AANA Combined 2021 Annual Meeting held in Nashville, Tennessee, July 7 -11, 2021.

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