SAITM to open state-of-the-art Thiel Cadaveric Facility for
Surgeons for first time in Sri Lanka

01st April 2016

Sri Lanka’s leading green campus South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) will soon open a state-of-the-art Thiel Cadaveric Facility for Surgeons for the first time in the country. Speaking on the soon to be opened facility SAITM Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando said that the new Thiel Cadaveric Facility will serve as a training centre and workshop for surgeons in the country and worldwide. He said that the facility will be housed at the Department of Anatomy in SAITM and offer the opportunity for the surgeons and training surgeons serving in Sri Lanka and abroad.

“SAITM will be the only institution that provides this one and only facility in Sri Lanka that will house a modern state-of-the-art Thiel Cadaveric Facility for both clinical students and surgeons,” Dr. Neville Fernando said adding that Thiel soft-fix method is an embalming method used for bodies which preserves them with life-like flexibility and tissue quality.

According to Dr. Neville Fernando, once completed the Thiel Cadaveric facility will serve as a model for training in surgical, diagnostic and interventional procedures as well as a model for research and development of new medical devices and techniques for surgeons and research at all levels.

“Before anybody, student or surgeon can work with the cadavers they need to sign a form to demonstrate compliance with our regulations which safeguard the respectful treatment of the cadavers and the responsible use of this invaluable resource,” he said. According to him the work of the new Thiel Cadaveric Facility will be overseen by a newly formed Thiel Advisory Committee headed by a qualified and experienced professor.

Thiel is an embalming technique pioneered in Austria that produces near life-like cadavers for medical use and is set to improve surgical skills and accelerate. Thiel embalming method retains the body’s natural look and feel according to experts. Thus skin and muscles remain flexible, allowing the limbs to be moved, while the body’s internal organs are clearly identifiable and respond to the surgeon’s scalpel as if alive.

Dr. Neville Fernando added that conventional methods of preservation using formaldehyde leave the body stiff and fragile, and complicate the understanding of how the body will respond to a particular surgical procedure and like any practical skill, practice is crucial to learning surgery.

“The benefits for surgeons are absolutely massive,” he said adding that enabling surgeons to try out a technique on a dead body before operating on a live patient allows surgeons to understand anatomy, minimise potential damage and rehearse the procedure before trying it for real. He also pointed out that using animals is never ideal as their anatomy is not always a good match for the human body. Similarly, bodies preserved using formaldehyde, a toxic solution, are never as good as the real thing.

South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) is the first green campus located in the suburbs of Colombo with a vision to make Sri Lankan and regional youth enriched with professionalism and character. The multi faculty campus located on a picturesque land in the midst of vast green land integrates students of all disciplines with the environment and makes them eco-friendly. The four faculties: Medicine, Management and Finance, Engineering, and ICT and Interactive Media of the Institute affiliated to highly recognised global universities create and continue to create innovative opportunities for learners with a view to provide new vistas in their professional life.

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