Abstract— Besides imaging, the central step in diagnostics of head and neck cancer is biopsy and rigid triple endoscopy, a routine procedure for over 50 years. However, the assessment of this procedure in terms of comparative studies has so far been unfeasible for ethical and practical reasons. The goal set was to construct a simulation mannequin of lifelike synthetic tissue for the evaluation and training of triple endoscopy. Paired up as a tandem, mechanical engineering and medicine postgraduates captured the work environment and gross steps of the procedure by means of observations in the surgery room, creation of a workflow and brainstorming in a multidisciplinary team. The further specifications, derived from in-depth interviews with eight ENT senior physicians, were as well incorporated into a quality function deployment (QFD), that resulted in focus on realistic, computed tomography (CT) scan based anatomy, lifelike haptics and optics of mucous membrane surfaces. These priorities lead to the decision to construct a modular triple endoscopy simulator which was integrated into a suitable mannequin already available on the market. As triple endoscopy was consistently judged by 100% of the interviewed ENT senior physicians as a challenging procedure the project was considered to be meaningful. The first consideration was to assess the procedure, which is now possible, but during the project time we decided to alter the weighting in the direction of simulator based training.
Keywords— Quality Function Deployment, high-fidelity simulator, head and neck cancer, training, triple endoscopy, multi disciplinary engineering, difficult airway management.
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