Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 156, Issue 6, pp 1237–1243 | Cite as

A neurosurgical phantom-based training system with ultrasound simulation

  • Andrea Müns
  • Constanze Mühl
  • Robert Haase
  • Hendrik Möckel
  • Claire Chalopin
  • Jürgen Meixensberger
  • Dirk Lindner
Technical Note - Neurosurgery Training



Brain tumor surgeries are associated with a high technical and personal effort. The required interactions between the surgeon and the technical components, such as neuronavigation, surgical instruments and intraoperative imaging, are complex and demand innovative training solutions and standardized evaluation methods. Phantom-based training systems could be useful in complementing the existing surgical education and training.


A prototype of a phantom-based training system was developed, intended for standardized training of important aspects of brain tumor surgery based on real patient data. The head phantom consists of a three-part construction that includes a reusable base and adapter, as well as a changeable module for single use. Training covers surgical planning of the optimal access path, the setup of the navigation system including the registration of the head phantom, as well as the navigated craniotomy with real instruments. Tracked instruments during the simulation and predefined access paths constitute the basis for the essential objective training feedback.


The prototype was evaluated in a pilot study by assistant physicians at different education levels. They performed a complete simulation and a final assessment using an evaluation questionnaire. The analysis of the questionnaire showed the evaluation result as “good” for the phantom construction and the used materials. The learning effect concerning the navigated planning was evaluated as “very good”, as well as having the effect of increasing safety for the surgeon before planning and conducting craniotomies independently on patients.


The training system represents a promising approach for the future training of neurosurgeons. It aims to improve surgical skill training by creating a more realistic simulation in a non-risk environment. Hence, it could help to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical training with the potential to benefit both physicians and patients.


Neurosurgical training Head phantom Tumor resection Ultrasound simulation Ultrasound phantom 



The described project was co-financed by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (EFRE, project number 14220/2466), while PHACON GmbH (Leipzig, Germany) was involved as a project partner. All authors declare no financial or personal conflict of interest regarding the material discussed in the article.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Müns
    • 1
  • Constanze Mühl
    • 1
  • Robert Haase
    • 2
  • Hendrik Möckel
    • 2
  • Claire Chalopin
    • 3
  • Jürgen Meixensberger
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dirk Lindner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.PHACON GmbHLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.ICCASUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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