Developing a phantom for simulating robotic-assisted complete mesocolic excision using 3D printing and medical imaging

Peter Hertz*, Claus Anders Bertelsen, Kim Houlind, Lars Bundgaard, Lars Konge, Flemming Bjerrum, Morten Bo Søndergaard Svendsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Robotic-assisted complete mesocolic excision is an advanced procedure mainly because of the great variability in anatomy. Phantoms can be used for simulation-based training and assessment of competency when learning new surgical procedures. However, no phantoms for robotic complete mesocolic excision have previously been described. This study aimed to develop an anatomically true-to-life phantom, which can be used for training with a robotic system situated in the clinical setting and can be used for the assessment of surgical competency.

METHODS: Established pathology and surgical assessment tools for complete mesocolic excision and specimens were used for the phantom development. Each assessment item was translated into an engineering development task and evaluated for relevance. Anatomical realism was obtained by extracting relevant organs from preoperative patient scans and 3D printing casting moulds for each organ. Each element of the phantom was evaluated by two experienced complete mesocolic excision surgeons without influencing each other's answers and their feedback was used in an iterative process of prototype development and testing.

RESULTS: It was possible to integrate 35 out of 48 procedure-specific items from the surgical assessment tool and all elements from the pathological evaluation tool. By adding fluorophores to the mesocolic tissue, we developed an easy way to assess the integrity of the mesocolon using ultraviolet light. The phantom was built using silicone, is easy to store, and can be used in robotic systems designated for patient procedures as it does not contain animal-derived parts.

CONCLUSIONS: The newly developed phantom could be used for training and competency assessment for robotic-assisted complete mesocolic excision surgery in a simulated setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalBMC Surgery
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 26. Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024. The Author(s).


  • Humans
  • Mesocolon/diagnostic imaging
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures/methods
  • Colonic Neoplasms/surgery
  • Colectomy/methods
  • Lymph Node Excision/methods
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • Laparoscopy/methods
  • Assessment
  • Robotic surgery
  • Training
  • 3D Printing
  • Simulation
  • Education
  • Complete mesocolic excision
  • Competency
  • Development
  • Simulator


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