Innovation Hero Finalist: Dr. Emad Aboud, Arkansas Neuroscience Institute

Dr. Emad Aboud
Arkansas Neuroscience Institute
CHI St. Vincent Infirmary

Dr. Emad Aboud is a shining example of how much innovation and discovery still reside within the field of medicine. The director of the Microneurosurgery Laboratory at Arkansas Neuroscience Institute, an adjunct of CHI St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock, Aboud has patented two inventions with the potential for saving lives through better surgical education and improved techniques.

The first addresses gaps in surgical training and also counters the sometimes thorny ethical issues surrounding use of live animals in surgical training, a common practice because a living organism provides body fluid reactions during procedures that a cadaver does not. The Aboud Model, on the other hand, recreates the movement of body fluids in cadavers to give surgical students a more realistic training experience.

Aboud came up with the idea for the “living cadaver,” as it is sometimes called, after reading medical reports and journals’ alarming statistics of deaths that could be prevented with improved surgical education.

“Researchers linked poor surgical outcomes to a wide variety of factors; the main factor is surgeon inexperience,” Aboud said. “This becomes increasingly relevant when addressing lesions, and complications that are not encountered on a routine basis such as intra-operative vascular injuries and major trauma.”

Aboud’s invention is a pump that, used with a human cadaver, circulates artificial blood into the vessels under pulsating pressure to simulate the human body in terms of bleeding, pulsation, and softness of tissue.

“Surgery residents or the young surgeon get a realistic training model to practice surgery and master surgical methods and techniques without putting patients in any danger, thus increasing surgeon’s experience and enhancing patient safety,” Aboud said.

A second invention provides an improved means of performing anastomosis, which is when two structures are sutured together after a section has been removed, such as with blood vessels or a section of intestine.

Current devices used in the procedure are complicated to use and consist of multiple components. Particularly in the instance of a stroke patient, the patient’s brain is literally on the clock because of oxygen deprivation from disruption of blood flow.

Aboud’s device, a vascular clip that can also be utilized in other procedures, shortens the time of surgery and prevents tissue damage by shortening the occlusion time of the vessels. It’s less expensive and is simple to use without additional setup or planning.

“The design of the device greatly simplifies the procedures required for the anastomosis of various arteries and other vasculature,” Aboud said. “Furthermore, the design of the device provides a single unit that eliminates the need for multiple functional parts and for ease of use. This vascular clip accelerates the procedure time and thus is more effective than those currently in use.”


» Syrian-born Dr. Emad Aboud has developed two inventions for improving surgical outcomes

» The Aboud Model produces a more lifelike surgical training experience without the use of live animals

» A new clip, used in anastomosis, features a simpler design that helps surgeons complete the procedure more quickly and more cost-effectively