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Using video calling to simulate arthroscopic surgery in a resource-poor setting
  1. Michael Thomas Stoddart,
  2. Lucy Mary Frances Rolt
  1. Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Bedford Orthopaedic Hospital, Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Michael Thomas Stoddart, Orthopaedics, Bedford Orthopaedic Hospital, Mthatha 5100, South Africa; michael.stoddart{at}


There is high demand for arthroscopic procedures in the developing world. Simulation allows trainees to develop basic arthroscopic skills away from theatre, where there may be reduced surgical exposure compared with centres with established arthroscopic practice. Smartphones are widely available and accessible throughout the world. We propose a method to create a low-cost, low-fidelity arthroscopic simulator that can be used at home by using the video call function of smartphones. We used readily available materials from a local market. An adequately sized cardboard box was used to house exercises, LED head torch as a light source, bamboo skewers as probes and a smartphone with video call function allowed visualisation without the need to purchase additional equipment. The whole simulator was constructed using less than 50 ZAR (US$3) of new materials. The arthroscopic simulator can be built simply and is easily portable. Established training exercises can be practised and allow development of basic arthroscopic skills. Our home-made simulator is inexpensive, simple to construct and does not require additional hardware (or software) purchases by the trainee. It is a perfect solution for individuals who want to practise their arthroscopic skills, either at home or at the workplace.

  • simulation
  • orthopaedic
  • touch surgery, simulation, surgical education, training

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  • Contributors MTS designed and built the simulator, wrote the manuscript. LMFR designed and built the simulator, edited and approved the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

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