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3D printed Simulare Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Simulator debuts in UK

An anatomically accurate, lifelike training tool that will reduce barriers to hands-on training for cleft surgeons in low-resource communities and around the world

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In a European debut at the 14th International Congress of Cleft Lip, Palate & Related Craniofacial (Cleft) 2022, Simulare Medical, a division of Smile Train, will bring together surgeons from across the world to trial the newest innovation in the organization’s line of cleft training tools – the 3D printed Simulare Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Simulator.

A cleft, or gap in the lip or soft palate, is the most common facial difference globally and affects around 1 in 700 newborn babies. In the UK, cleft surgery is usually carried out within the first 12 months of a baby’s life, by the NHS. However, hundreds of thousands of children living in resource-poor communities worldwide do not have access to the lifesaving cleft treatment they desperately need.

3D printed Simulare Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Simulator debuts in UK. An anatomically accurate, lifelike training tool.
Image source: Smile Train

Developed by leading plastic surgeons, the 3D printed Simulare Medical Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Simulator is an anatomically accurate, lifelike, and invaluable training tool that will reduce barriers to hands-on training for cleft surgeons in low-resource communities and around the world, enabling Smile Train to empower local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children in need. Global cleft experts who have the opportunity to simulate surgery with this world-class training tool reduce patient risk, decrease training costs, and elevate the skills and confidence of surgeons.

This simulator is just one of the many tools Smile Train uses to train medical professionals in the 70+ countries where they have active programs. Through its locally-led, sustainable, and scalable partnership model, the organization supports essential cleft care for children in their own communities and strengthens local health systems.

The 3D printed simulator resembles the anatomy and texture of various kinds of tissue such as skin, muscle, and fat to create one of the most realistic, high-fidelity models available today. This means that surgeons and trainees can practice and perfect true-to-life incisions, dissections, and suturing outside of the operating room with no risk to patients. Simulated surgery has been shown to improve outcomes for thousands of children born with cleft lip and palate across the world each year.

“Simply put, our Bilateral Simulator saves lives. But not only this, by equipping surgeons from across the globe with training tools such as our Simulator, we can drastically improve children’s lives, giving them the opportunity to thrive. Giving partner surgeons access to this revolutionary technology means that wherever a child lives, they can have access to the same high-quality cleft care and treatment. The European debut of our Simulator at Cleft 2022 is a really exciting moment for us – it means we continue to upskill hundreds of partner cleft experts. When local surgeons have access to the most advanced tools, it builds their capacity to provide the best care possible and empowers them to perform surgery safely no matter where they are in the world,” said Ian Vallance, Director of Smile Train UK.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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