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Experiencing Surgical Realities

Alex Carleton (Left) and Lillian Lim (Right)

Formus Labs’ team members are observing surgeries to help inform their work and understand the daily challenges faced by surgeons.

Formus Labs Research Engineers Alex Carleton and Lilian Lim spent time in the Auckland Surgical Centre watching surgeries performed by Mr Paul Monk. 

Alex had designed a patient specific wedge instrument to help determine the opening angle of the tibia for a high tibial osteotomy procedure. By watching, he was able to see the application of his work in real time and learn more about the clinical realities. 

“It was beneficial to see how a surgeon operates and how the procedure is executed to understand the limitations a surgeon is faced within the theatre. This will help us improve the design of the wedge and think about other information we can supply the surgeon to make surgery easier,” says Alex.

Observing the surgeries allowed for learnings from Mr Paul Monk which will help Formus Labs improve their work in this space.

“Mr Monk would mention when something was worth taking a closer look at and he would also explain a few of the shortcomings of how things are currently performed as the industry standard,” Alex continues.. 

He says he was surprised with just how small the incision was in order to perform such a major surgery.

“This made me realise that our design can be improved on, as our current design assumes a more invasive surgical technique.” 

Alex says having real world context for the products and research Formus Labs are involved with help us further understand how the product or service is used. 

“This improves understanding of what features are more important to the end users and enables us to appreciate how the product is used to improve our design,” says Alex.

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Formus Labs software engineer Jamie Kydd started developing this technology in late 2020. Jamie says the software has the potential to allow surgeons to know how accurate their surgeries have been. 

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New Clinical Hire

With the support of Callaghan Innovation, Formus Labs has recently hired a Clinical Research Associate. Lilian Lim came to Formus Labs from a year as a research assistant with the Musculoskeletal Modelling Group at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) after completing her Masters of Engineering in 2020.

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