Students from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy visit research cadaver lab |

Students from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy visit research cadaver lab

VAIL — Tuesday didn’t start out quite like any other school day for four Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy biology students.

The quartet was selected by Samuel Bennett, the upper school Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy science teacher, to observe rotator cuff surgery performed on a real human cadaver shoulder at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute at the Vail Valley Medical Center in Vail.

Colin Robbins, assistant lab coordinator, and Dr. Andrew Geeslin, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine fellow with the Institute, performed the surgery. All sorts of sciences are involved in rotator cuff surgery — chemistry, biology and anatomy — providing a valuable learning experience for the students.

Geeslin said he witnessed and helped in more than 2,000 surgeries before operating as a surgeon himself. Yet he and other surgeons continue to learn as technology for healing and the surgery itself improves.

The students watched as knotless BioComposite SwiveLock suture anchors with FiberTape were used to complete a quick and secure double-row rotator cuff repair, restoring the rotator cuff footprint and maximizing contact between the tendon and bone. Geeslin said it’s harder to work on cadavers since the tissue is softer, which gives the surgeon less time.

The students also got a peek at the department of biomedical engineering area of the research institute, learning how robots are helping set the stage for future developments in orthopedic surgeries. Seeing the leading-edge in surgery technology in a real-world setting is something the students won’t soon forget.

Watch Dr. Peter Millett, an orthopedic surgeon with The Steadman Clinic, perform a rotator cuff repair.

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