Utilizing In-Hospital Fabrication to Decrease Simulation Costs: Simulation Fabrication to Decreased Costs

Christian Sommerhalder, Aisen Caro Chacin, Taylor P. Williams, Shannon C. Delao, Kristen M. Kahrig, Clifford L. Snyder, Alexander Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Two restrictive factors for surgical training through simulation, are the cost of and accessibility to materials and consoles for simulation models. Commercial surgical simulation models continue to maintain high prices with a wide range of fidelity levels. We believe that by utilizing in-house fabrication, these barriers can be decreased while maintaining and even improving the functionality of surgical simulation models as well as increase their individualization and customization. Methods: By using a combination of digital and manual fabrication techniques such as 3D printing and basic mold making methods, we were able to create models equivalent to current commercial products by utilizing the first of its kind MakerHEALTH space and collaborating with our surgical simulation staff. We then compared our research and development, start-up, materials, operational, and labor costs to buying comparable commercial models with the simulation usage rates of our institution. Results: We were able to decrease the costs of a 6 model simulation sample set (appendectomy, cholecystectomy, common bile duct exploration, ventral hernia, chest tube insertion, and suture pads) at our institution from $99,646.60 to $13,817.21 for a medical student laborer, $14,500.56 for a surgical resident laborer, $15,321.08 for a simulation staff laborer, and $18,984.48 for an attending physician laborer. Conclusion: We describe successful approaches for the creation of cost-effective and modular simulation models with the aim of decreasing the barriers to entry and improving surgical training and skills. These techniques make it financially feasible for learners to train during larger faculty-led workshops and on an individual basis, allowing for access to simulation at any time or place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Cost effectiveness: Efficiency
  • In-house fabrication
  • Simulation models
  • Surgical simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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