RAWALPINDI - Virtual Trainer Lab (VLB) has been established at Surgical Unit-II, Holy Family Hospital (HFH) for improving minimal invasive surgery skills of surgical residents of Allied Hospitals. The VTL has been established in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA and Department of Surgery, Surgical Unit-II of HFH. Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) and Allied Hospitals Principal Prof Dr Muhammad Musadiq Khan, while addressing concluding ceremony of Laperoscopic Training Workshop on Wednesday said that this lab simulator would be utilized to help trainees to acquire the skills needed to perform complex minimally invasive surgical procedures prior to practicing them on patients. He informed that the lab was equipped with state of the art modern basic surgical simulators, box trainers, tower trainers, full procedural simulators and specific task trainers. He said that laparoscopic surgery or Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) had become popular in the last 15 years. Dr Musadiq said that operations that were once performed "open" were now done almost exclusively laparoscopic ally. He said that training in this area was becoming necessary for many subspecialties of surgery. Laparoscopic surgery was being performed at many centers within Pakistan today but the training facilities for this emerging technology were limited, he added. He said that establishment of VTL was joint efforts of Pak-US in science and technology aimed at improving research capacity building at Pakistani institutions and bringing wellbeing of people of the country. RMC Principal said that main objectives of establishing this lab were to enhance current MIS facilities in the Operation Theatres (OTs) of the hospital, develop Minimally Invasive Surgery Training Manual for workshops and to train faculty and surgical residents of RMC and Allied Hospitals through comprehensive 2 week MIS Training workshops. He said that one-week workshop was organized to train senior faculty members of department of Surgery, RMC working in all the three teaching hospitals. The main objectives of the workshop were to present and discuss the principles of education and evaluation pertinent to training residents in laparoscopic surgery, principles of simulation and the validation of training models he said adding that there was comprehensive training on how to demonstrate and prepare the trainees to learn and perform their skills. It was also informed that 12-faculty members from five surgery departments of HFH, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Hospital (BBSH) and DHQ Hospital were trained during this workshop. Prof Ronald C Merrell from Virginia Commonwealth University, USA and RMC Head of Surgery Department Prof Asif Zafar Malik were the workshop course directors.