Realistic anatomical prostate models for surgical skills workshops using ballistic gelatin for nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy and fruit for simple prostatectomy Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Understanding of prostate anatomy has evolved as techniques have been refined and improved for radical prostatectomy (RP), particularly regarding the importance of the neurovascular bundles for erectile function. The objectives of this study were to develop inexpensive and simple but anatomically accurate prostate models not involving human or animal elements to teach the terminology and practical aspects of nerve-sparing RP and simple prostatectomy (SP). MATERIALS AND METHODS: The RP model used a Foley catheter with ballistics gelatin in the balloon and mesh fabric (neurovascular bundles) and balloons (prostatic fascial layers) on either side for the practice of inter- and intrafascial techniques. The SP model required only a ripe clementine, for which the skin represented compressed normal prostate, the pulp represented benign tissue, and the pith mimicked fibrous adhesions. A modification with a balloon through the fruit center acted as a "urethra." RESULTS: Both models were easily created and successfully represented the principles of anatomical nerve-sparing RP and SP. Both models were tested in workshops by urologists and residents of differing levels with positive feedback. CONCLUSIONS: Low-fidelity models for prostate anatomy demonstration and surgical practice are feasible. They are inexpensive and simple to construct. Importantly, these models can be used for education on the practical aspects of nerve-sparing RP and SP. The models will require further validation as educational and competency tools, but as we move to an era in which human donors and animal experiments become less ethical and more difficult to complete, so too will low-fidelity models become more attractive.

publication date

  • 2011