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Dermatology Online Journal

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Skin simulators for dermatological procedures


Background: A variety of skin simulators are available on which to practice procedures; however, choice of a suboptimal substitute compromises realism and productive practice.

Objective: Skin simulators for basic dermatological procedures are reviewed.

Methods: The authors’ anecdotal experience with various skin simulators for different procedures is shared.

Results: The following simulators are suggested:  an unripe banana for elliptical excision, pork belly for undermining, pork belly for simple interrupted and buried suture, capped needle on a human shoulder for intramuscular injection, ripe tomato or hotdog with skin for intradermal injection, eggplant for shave biopsy, pork belly for punch biopsy, plastic tape over a dark surface for cryosurgery, and beef liver for electrosurgery.  Flaps are best practiced with foam sandwiched between foam tape or artificial anatomical models created specifically for this purpose.

Limitations: The utility of one simulator over another was not compared in a controlled study.

Conclusion: Efficient, realistic skin simulators are readily available for practice, which should enhance the safety of the practitioner and improve outcomes of novices.

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