Veterinary Applied Laparoscopic Training (VALT) Laboratory
(l-r) A box trainer uses real instruments to
teach hand-eye coordination and practice routine procedures such as suturing.
The virtual reality, or VR, trainer uses a large screen and gives instant
feedback. The canine abdomen models allow surgeons to the feel the confinement
and shape of the abdominal cavity.
Established in 2008, the VALT laboratory’s mission is to
develop, validate, and implement veterinary laparoscopic
training programs. The aim is to bring the basic laparoscopic
skills training out of the operating room, where different
techniques can be practiced and explored. Research studies have
shown that additional training in the VALT lab improves skill
level. The long-term goal is to create safer surgeons, for the
benefit of animal patients.
Unlike traditional surgical techniques, laparoscopic surgery can be performed
using very small incisions. Surgeons look at magnified images on television
screens while using long instruments to perform the surgery or diagnostic
procedures. Because laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, there are
fewer risks for the patient and recovery time is much quicker. The VALT
laboratory currently offers skills training to WSU residents and veterinarians,
and plans to offer elective courses to DVM students in the near future. As the
lab grows, the hope is to expand training to veterinary surgeons from other