Holland company and hospital team up to teach medical students with new tech

Posted at 6:59 AM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 06:59:54-05

HOLLAND, Mich. -- A team effort between a hospital and a company in Holland is changing the way doctors and medical students practice removing kidney stones.
The new approach is eliminating the need for cadavers or animals for training.

The Holland company, Encoris is hoping to sell the technology that lets surgeons and medical students practice removing kidney stones that are too big to pass naturally.

The model is called the PCNL Boz Trainer, and it provides a clean operating environment, is reusable for up to four training sessions, and saves medical staff a lot of money and time.

Jim TenBrink, the co-founder of Encoris, says his company works directly with medical device companies creating medical models and surgical trainers that help medical device companies better show and demonstrate their projects.

"We take all kinds of materials, wave the magic wand, and create body parts," TenBrink said. "What really sets Encoris apart is our innovation."

TenBrink tells FOX 17 that the PCNL Boz Trainer wasn't created solely by him. In fact, he partnered with an Italian scientific university and a well-known urologist, Dr. Geiorgio Bozzini.

The PCNL Boz Trainer delivers a realistic surgical experience for students practicing the removal of kidney stones.

It's a big deal, considering medical students normally train with pig kidneys or generic kidney models that don't challenge students. But the PCNL Boz Trainer does, with its life-like skin and gooey-gel that masks the kidney, urinary tract, and kidney stones.

TenBrink admits all of this wouldn't have been possible without the help of Holland Hospital.

"[They] allowed me to come over there, bring my body parts, and let me put it under the ultra sound," TenBrink said.

Erik Badgero, the manager of radiology services at Holland Hospital, says the trainer gives students the ability to practice removing kidney stones from multiple angles with the help of X-rays and ultrasound.

"It allows them to run some test runs and be able to gain some experience and comfort level before they do that in the real world," Badgero said.

TenBrink says his company has exclusive rights to sell the trainer around the world. It's a big step for Encoris, a company that's not even a decade old.

The tech will be marketed to medical schools, medical device companies, and certain hospitals. TenBrink says the lifelike skin box costs around $800, and, depending on what kidney model you get, prices range from $450 to $750.