Tech by VICE

This Simulated Injury Spurts Blood for Science

Researchers are making virtual wounds to train future trauma surgeons.

by Emiko Jozuka
Dec 1 2015, 2:00pm

What you see in this video is not CGI for an upcoming slasher film. It's a simulated injury created to train future trauma surgeons.

The video, presented at a fluid dynamics conference last week, shows blood gushing out of an artery and vein, then switches to a model of an entire lower leg, which is hit by a ballistic missile and shown spurting out viscous red liquid.

To create the lifelike simulated leg, researchers took detailed CT scans of a real patient's leg.

"The CT scans are able to resolve the differences between materials like bone, muscle tissue, and skin," said Jeff D. Eldredge, a researcher from the Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology at the University of California, Los Angeles, over the phone.

"When [medics] train they have to feel the anxiety of seeing a real injury"

This, explained Eldredge, allowed the researchers to model their simulations more accurately by understanding what properties to assign the different tissues and bone to make them look more realistic. It also shows how the blood would spurt out of the leg injury.

The researchers are currently also working with psychologists to assess how effective it is to teach trauma care through virtual methods.

"Our goal in this specific project is to train medics to be able to deal with these sorts of injuries quickly and efficiently," said Eldredge. "When they train they have to feel the anxiety of seeing a real injury, and that's the important aspect that's hard to recreate."

Currently, combat medics train on real animals. Eldredge explained that the research team's aim was to replace the need to injure animals unnecessarily by creating a virtual training ground for future medics.

"If we can recreate that sort of feeling of anxiety and call-to-action in a virtual environment, I think that's going to be a really effective tool."