Spinal surgeons in Southampton are using a revolutionary simulator complete with artificial bone, tissue and blood as part of a national training programme.

The device, known as RealSpine, enables teams to “operate” in theatre with their colleagues in real time and using all standard surgical instruments.

Previously training has been carried out using human bodies donated for research. The university says by using this simulator as well as lifelike bone, tissue and blood, surgeons are faced with complications such as a tear or hole in the membrane surrounding the spinal cord which requires repair.

The model feels like real bone and normal spinal tissues, it bleeds like a normal patient and it can create surgical complications.

Evan Davies, consultant spinal surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Mr Davies said the equipment can currently only be used through industry funding and is now calling for NHS support to incorporate the technology as standard in trainee programmes.