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LewiSim – Lumbar spine simulator

LewiSim – Lumbar spine simulator

The aim of project LewiSim is the further development of a prototypical lumbar spine simulator, which was developed at ISTT, to a finished product that is ready for application and for the market as a training simulator for operations on the lumbar spine.


Operations on the lumbar spine are counted to the most common surgeries performed in Germany. Nevertheless, the risk of complications is not to be underestimated – for instance during the removal of a herniated vertebral disc, the surgeon operates between the vertebral arches, directly past the spinal cord, to reach the herniated disc. In order to find a way to practice this procedure in a way that is standardized and can be repeated without any risk for patients, project ForMaT was conducted from 2010–2012. As a result, a prototype of a simulator for the lumbar spine was developed. On this simulator it was possible to realistically replicate the surgical removal of a herniated disc under laboratory conditions. It was shown that just one simulated operation provided an increase in confidence in the learning surgeon. During the validation with surgical experts, the anatomical model was well received due to its remarkable similarity to a real patient. However, the creation of the simulator itself takes a great effort and is not possible with common machining processes.

Course of action

The simulator prototype, developed in project ForMaT, is functioned into a modular system comprised of a base station and the training module. The base station contains the bleeding system and produces the pressure in the spinal fluid. Furthermore, the base station assumes the task of evaluating data gathered by sensors in the training module to give the training surgeon feedback about his performance in the operation. The training module is structured in a way that all consumable materials (anatomical part, artificial blood, spinal fluid) form a unit that can easily be replaced.


In 2013, the developed training simulator was firstly presented at the MEDICA and at the annual meeting of the German Spine Society. Additionally, the simulator is already being used successfully in training courses at the ISTT.

Runtime: August 1, 2012 – Januar 31, 2015
Project leadership: Prof. Dr. Werner Korb
Members of staff: Ben Andrack, Jochen Handwerk, Ingo Lorber, Matthias Müller

Project news

  • Healthy Simulation reviews RealSpine

    Healthy Simulation reviews RealSpine


    HealthySimulation.com, the leading blog on medical simulation, featured on RealSpine, the simulator for the lumbar spine which was developed at ISTT. In the extensive product review, medical...


Letzte Änderung: 8.6.2015
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