Magnetic Spiderman, a New Surgical Training Device: Study of Safety and Educational Value in a Liver Transplantation Surgical Training Program

  • Yue Wang
  • Huan Chen
  • Bo Tang
  • Tao Ma
  • Qingshan Li
  • Haoyang Zhu
  • Xiaogang Zhang
  • Yi LvEmail author
  • Dinghui DongEmail author
Original Scientific Report



Difficulties with liver transplantation (LT)-related surgical techniques are great challenges for young surgeons. Thus, young surgeons need to undergo systematic preclinical training. However, an optimal training system for LT is still lacking. This study aims to evaluate the safety and educational value of the Magnetic Spiderman (MS) during LT-related surgical techniques training, particularly during training for the preparation of the donor’s liver and vascular reconstruction.


For the donor liver preparation training, the pulling force of the MS was measured using 16 porcine livers. Another 40 porcine livers were divided into two groups: MS group (used MS in the preparation of the liver) (n = 25) and manual group (took manual assistance in the preparation of the liver) (MA group, n = 15). In vascular reconstruction training, 25 pairs of porcine iliac veins were used to practice reconstruction. Five LT experts evaluated the MS for its use in LT-related surgical techniques training.


During the donor liver preparation training, the number of assistants required in the MS group was significantly less than the number required in the MA group (0 vs. 1.8 ± 0.1; P < 0.001). However, the number of vasculature leaking points was similar between the two groups (0.2 ± 0.1 vs. 0.4 ± 0.2; P = 0.51). In vascular reconstruction training, the trainee alone could complete the vascular reconstruction training, with a reconstruction success rate of 80% (20/25). All five experts considered the MS a viable alternative to assistants, with the ability to facilitate single surgeon training for LT. Four out of five (80%) experts considered MS quite safe for surgery and effective at keeping the surgical field clear.


MS can reduce the number of assistants to zero in LT-related techniques training without increasing the risk of the operation, thus facilitating training for LT.



This work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Education Innovation Team Development Program of China (No. IRT1279). The funding agency had no role in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, and in the writing of the manuscript.

Authors’ contributions

YW and HC participated in the design of the MS and the study, wrote the draft of the manuscript, and revised it. BT and TM participated in the design of the study and performed the statistical analysis. QL and XZ contributed to the interpretation of the results and helped to revise the draft. HZ and YL participated in the design of the MS and the study, the interpretation of results, and the critical revision of the manuscript. DD conceived of the study and contributed to the study design, the interpretation of the results, and the critical revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable guidelines of the First Affiliated Hospital, Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine for the care and use of animals were followed. The study was approved by the institutional review board of the First Affiliated Hospital, Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine (XJTU1AF2015LSL-046).


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yue Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huan Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bo Tang
    • 1
  • Tao Ma
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qingshan Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Haoyang Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaogang Zhang
    • 2
  • Yi Lv
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Dinghui Dong
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.National Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Precision Surgery and Regenerative MedicineFirst Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of Hepatobiliary SurgeryFirst Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina

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