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Samaritan Surgeon Pioneers 3D Modeling Surgical Technology

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Layron Long, MD, medical director of the Department of Urology and chair of robotic surgery at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, became the first surgeon in the Pacific Northwest to use a new 3D printed customized training model before performing two surgical cases.

The technology, Pre-Sure®, created by Oregon-based medical device company, Lazarus 3D, allows surgeons to rehearse complex surgeries on a soft, realistic silicone model created directly from scans of a patient’s actual organ. The technology was recently approved by the FDA for use as a diagnostic device for pre-operative surgical rehearsals. 

“Allowing surgeons to rehearse surgery on a realistic model could someday decrease the time for operations and reduce surgical complications,” Dr. Long said.

As an experienced and skilled surgeon, Dr. Long said he would consider using this technology for complex surgeries, such as when there are lesions and blockages of the kidney, and it can be hard to see the transition points with traditional imaging including CTs and MRIs.

“If you’re going to run in a race, you don’t just do it. You practice,” explained Dr. Long. “It’s the same concept with this technology.”

In the two cases performed since December 2021, Dr. Long set up a rehearsal with Pre-Sure® using the da Vinci® robotic platform at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Since 2010, Samaritan’s robotic-assisted surgery program has changed how doctors perform surgery, enhancing patient care and improving outcomes. The da Vinci surgical system gives doctors an alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy. 

The surgeries Dr. Long rehearsed using the synthetic soft-tissue models, including the removal of a complex tumor from the kidney, were both successful. 

“I went in before and practiced the surgery, performing the incision and the reconstruction,” he said. “It was a tough case. The technology helped me go in with more confidence.”

Dr. Long, who also serves as an assistant professor at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest, said another application for this technology is to lessen the learning curve for new surgeons to become proficient. 
He can envision a future where surgical residents could practice on lifelike 3D models to improve their skills.

“From an educational standpoint, these models could help bridge the learning gap and boost confidence,” Dr. Long said. 

Layron Long, MD, sees patients at multiple Samaritan Urology clinics and can be reached at 541-768-5486. Learn more about Samaritan’s da Vinci Robotic-Assisted Surgery Program.