Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Surgery) research projects

Research projects available for our intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Surgery) can be found below.

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Systematic review and service evaluation of transanal resection techniques for significant rectal neoplasms

Main Supervisor

Mr Athur Harikrishnan (a.harikrishnan@sheffield.ac.uk)

Second Supervisor

Dr Panagiota Kitsanta (panagiota.kitsanta@nhs.net)

Other Supervisors

Mr Shwan Amin, Dr Rebecca Denoronha

Aim and Objectives

Significant rectal neoplasms include large benign and malignant lesions that require complex surgical techniques to treat. Transanal techniques like TEMS and TAMIS are well recognised treatment options. The aims of this project are

  1. to perform a systematic review of the efficacy and long-term outcomes of transanal resection techniques in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms published in literature, and
  2. to review the outcomes of transanal techniques in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms in the colorectal unit of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Research Methodology

Stage One: Learn methodology of conducting systematic review.

Stage Two: Conduct systematic review of the efficacy and outcomes of transanal techniques in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms published in English literature. This will involve detailed literature search on the topic that is followed by data consolidation and analysis. The candidate is expected to write and submit the systematic review for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. This review will form the first part of the dissertation submitted for the BSc intercalated degree.

Stage Three: Learn methodology of conducting data collection and comparative analysis. The candidate will gain knowledge of basic and advanced statistical knowledge required for the project.

Stage Four: The candidate will collect data related to transanal techniques used in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms in the Sheffield colorectal unit under the guidance of the supervisors. This will involve retrospective and prospective data collection, data analysis, statistical computing and discussion of results. This exercise should generate at least one publication and several abstracts, posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings. The core data analysis from this stage will contribute to the second part of the dissertation. It is expected that the stages mentioned above will merge to complement each other during the BSc project.

Expected Outcome

  1. The project will generate at least two peer-reviewed publications as mentioned above.
  2. The project will also yield several posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings.
  3. The project will enable the candidate to submit a dissertation to the university as a requirement for the BSc degree.
  4. The candidate will gain knowledge of key academic assets that is required for any medical practitioner e.g., systematic review and clinical data analysis.

Type of Project

Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Additional Training

  1. The student will learn research and statistical methodology of conducting and writing a systematic review.
  2. The student will be taught clinical and demographic data collection and analyses.
  3. The student will learn about investigation and treatment of rectal neoplasms
Simulation models in surgical training – systematic review and analysis of current simulation environment for surgical training in South Yorkshire

Main Supervisor

Mr Athur Harikrishnan (a.harikrishnan@sheffield.ac.uk)

Second Supervisor

Mr Paul Skinner (paul.skinner4@nhs.net)

Other Supervisors

Prof S Brown, Mrs L Izzard

Aim and Objectives

Current challenges in surgical training has produced a surge in the different types of simulation techniques to equip the trainees with the most appropriate skills to practice safe medicine. Traditional teaching is supported by a variety of learning environments like dry lab, wet lab, cadaveric lab and software-based laparoscopic and robotic surgery models. More recently virtual reality and augmented reality simulators have entered the realm of surgical training that have introduced a completely new dimension to the surgical learning experience.
The aims of this project are to:

  1. conduct a systematic review of the different simulation frameworks and platforms used in general surgery and colorectal surgery training, and
  2. perform an analysis of the current surgical simulation environment in South Yorkshire.

Research Methodology

Stage One: Learn methodology of conducting systematic review.

Stage Two: Conduct systematic review of the different simulation models used in general and colorectal surgery. This will involve detailed literature search on the topic that is followed by data consolidation and analysis. The candidate is expected to write and submit the systematic review for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. This review will form the first part of the dissertation submitted for the BSc intercalated degree.

Stage Three: Learn methodology of conducting data collection and comparative analysis. The candidate will gain knowledge of basic and advanced statistical knowledge required for the project.

Stage Four: The Sheffield Academy of Surgical Skills and Simulation conducts different courses and workshops encompassing various types of simulation models including dry lab, wet lab, laparoscopic skills lab and cadaveric courses. The candidate will collate and analyse the excepted learning outcomes and skill set development from each type of training episode. This will involve data collection, data analysis, statistical computing and discussion of results. This exercise should generate at least one publication and several abstracts, posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings. The core data analysis from this stage will contribute to the second part of the dissertation.

It is expected that the stages mentioned above will merge to complement each other during the BSc project.

Expected Outcome

  1. The project will generate at least two peer-reviewed publications as mentioned above.
  2. The project will also yield several posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings.
  3. The project will enable the candidate to submit a dissertation to the university as a requirement for the BSc degree.
  4. The candidate will gain knowledge of key academic assets that is required for any medical practitioner e.g., systematic review and data analysis.

Type of Project

Qualitative Project/non-lab based - primarily using qualitative methods

Additional Training

  1. The student will learn research and statistical methodology of conducting and writing a systematic review.
  2. The student will be taught clinical and demographic data collection and analyses.
  3. The candidate will understand the different simulation models and platforms used for surgical training and get a first hand knowledge of benchmarking the simulation courses.
3D modelling of the pelvis using EOS - reliability and reproducibility study

Main Supervisor

Miss Caroline Blakey (caroline.blakey1@nhs.net)

Second Supervisor

Mr Shankar Thiagarajah (shankar.thiagarajah@nhs.net)

Aim and Objectives

The objective of the study is to compare the accuracy of pelvic and acetabular parameters obtained from biplanar radiographs, with CT images, in the preoperative assessment of patients with moderate hip dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement.

The study aims to validate the use of EOS biplanar imaging in the assessment of pelvic and acetabular parameters for mild and moderate morphological abnormalities of the hip joint.

The EOS™ X-ray machine, based on a Nobel prize-winning invention in physics in the field of particle detection, is capable of a simultaneous capture of biplanar X-ray images by slot scanning of the whole body in an upright, physiological load-bearing position, using ultra-low radiation doses. The simultaneous capture of spatially calibrated anterioposterior and lateral images provides a three-dimensional (3D) surface reconstruction of the skeletal system using a special software. EOS biplanar imaging has recently been introduced at Sheffield Children’s, one of very few centres in the UK to have this technology.

Pelvic parameters change with posture, affecting the relationship between the acetabulum and femur in positions of function. The outcome of surgery for patients with hip joint deformity depends significantly on accurate correction of anatomy with small margins for error. EOS imaging is an incredibly valuable resource in the work up of patients with these, often difficult, deformities.

A number of radiographic parameters have been defined that allow assessment of pelvic and acetabular geometry on CT. These measures can be made directly from EOS images but their accuracy and repeatability has not yet been defined.

CT scans expose patients to significantly more radiation that biplanar imaging alone. If measurement of pelvic and acetabular parameters can be reliably measured on biplanar imaging, and the use of CT reduced, this would greatly reduce radiation exposure for hip preservation patients.

Research Methodology

Patients awaiting hip preservation surgery, as treatment for impingement or dysplasia, routinely undergo EOS biplanar imaging and CT of the pelvis and femora in our unit. The study will compare these two imaging modalities, in their accuracy of measurement of standard morphological parameters, with CT considered gold standard.

The student will be taught the radiographic parameters of the hip morphology prior to starting the study. Measure of hip joint morphology will be realised to allow assessment of the 3D geometry of pelvis and both hip joints from defined anatomical landmarks on both the biplanar pelvic radiographs in the standing position, and the pelvic CT scan. A research version of sterEOS will be used to measure on biplanar radiographs while MATLAB® will be used to measure on CT scan.

The student will be one of three researchers making independent measurements of CT and EOS imaging for a total of twenty patients. The student will then be expected to analyse the data, with supervision, using appropriate statistics to compare the two imaging modalities.

The student will be expected to write up the analysis to comprise their dissertation. We expect the work to be published in peer reviewed journal and lead on to future studies.

Expected Outcome

We expect to find measures of pelvic and acetabular morphology using EOS comparable to those made using 3D CT. If the use of EOS biplanar imaging of the pelvis can be validated for measures of pelvic and acetabular morphology, it will reduce the radiation required for the work up of these patients, and allow the software to be used for multiple other studies.

Type of Project

Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Additional Training

Students will be taught the radiographic assessment of hip morphology. They will be taught use of the EOS research software and MATLAB imaging processing to measure pelvic and acetabular parameters from 3D imaging.

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