Technology and training: pilot project for urology trainees

A few days ago, a pilot project aiming to improve the training of urology residents was launched within Humanitas University. Through an innovative teaching approach, trainees can actively participate in lectures on applied surgical anatomy. The project will target 64 first- and second-year trainees from the specialization schools of eight Italian universities: Humanitas University, State University of Milan, San Raffaele University and the Universities of Brescia, Genoa, Padua, Verona and Turin.

The aim is to increase the learning curve in surgery and reduce the time it takes to perform surgery while always ensuring patient safety. “It is fundamental that a doctor has a good knowledge of anatomy, which is why we use a technological device for advanced teaching. It is a three-dimensional didactic anatomy table to facilitate the “review” of human anatomy and for an in-depth study with a surgical approach,” explains Dr Flavio Ronzoni – Coordinator of the Human Anatomy Courses at MEDTEC School. In fact, a simulator in a safe and controlled environment allows trainees to practise, e.g. positioning the patient for surgery, identifying surgical access points while interacting with each other and the lecturers, and if mistakes occur there are no consequences.

The aim is to upgrade the training of surgeons and future urologists using technology and the interactive Anatomage anatomy table in the Simulation Centre, which allows the anatomy to be seen in 3D and fully segmented, exactly as if it were a real patient.

“Our idea is to improve the knowledge and teaching of surgical anatomy on the most relevant organs in urology” explains Dr Marco Paciotti – urology specialist at Humanitas University. Anatomy is taught during the first years of Medicine and Surgery, and residents tend to perceive it being abstract and are therefore a little overwhelmed at first. We want to provide the tools and the skills to accelerate and enhance their knowledge’.

All participants underwent a preliminary screening to verify that they had the necessary knowledge and skills to participate.

In order to assess the validity of the process, the pilot is structured as a two-arm multicenter randomized prospective study on the anatomy of the male pelvic scalvus: the first arm consisting of 32 doctors who took part in the traditional web-based lectures given by Professor Maria Angela Cerruto, Professor of Urology University of Verona, and the second one consisting of the other 32 doctors who took part in the lectures with two interactive tables. Each group attended three two-hour modules. The first module was dedicated to reviewing human anatomy; the second analyzed surgical procedures by also using videos, and the third examined specific clinical cases.

At the end, the participants took a test to assess which learning method was the most effective. In addition, a third comparison group consisting of fourth- and fifth-year resident doctors, thus more experienced and traditionally trained, will be asked to take the same test so that they can compare their knowledge and the effectiveness of the teaching method.

Once the results of the study of the methodology as well as the technology and the 3D anatomical tables have been verified, the plan is to extend this method to other specialization schools. An ambitious and exciting goal with a vision for the future.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.