By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is opening a new training lab today to give surgeons some cutting edge experience. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on the hands-on training.

Training time for residents has been cut back, so CHOP has come up with a unique way to allow them to get more efficient, hands-on experience.

It’s surgery without the patient: a simulated operation for residents at CHOP who are using real endoscopic equipment in a new lab.

“I think it’s a great resource,” said Benjamin Padilla, a surgery fellow at CHOP. He is getting some unique hands-on experience at CHOP’s new Pediatric Endoscopic Surgical Training & Advancement Laboratory, called PEDESTAL.

“If you can just sort of get the mechanics of operating down in here, it allows you to focus on the important things in the operating room,” said Benjamin.

The simulated experience is the brainchild of pediatric surgeon Dr. Thane Blinmin, in response to new laws that dramatically cut back on work hours for residents.

“Their time is vastly reduced, and so what we need to do is push them back up the learning curve,” said Dr. Blinman.

Minimally invasive pediatric surgery is a specialized learning curve. Surgeons work in small spaces with endoscopic equipment. Experience matters.

“Babies are delicate. If you go blundering into things because you can’t move with precision in small spaces, the babies will suffer. We call this minimally invasive surgery, but if it’s clumsy, it’s not minimally invasive. It’s just dangerous.

And working with the endoscopic equipment is tough. Stahl tried it. Something simple like grasping a piece of paper is more difficult than it looks. Making knots for stitches and other complicated moves are tricky.

The new laboratory was made possible, in part, by a $1 million gift from the Measey Foundation.

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