Neurosurgical design nominated for business innovation award


A new neurological simulator which was launched on the clinical market last year has been nominated for a national business innovation award. Known as Rowena, the simulator was shortlisted from over 950 entries in the FSB WorldPay UK Business Awards which take place at the Waldorf Hotel in London on 21st May. Rowena was created by consultant neurosurgeon Richard Ashpole, founder of Neurodesign.

Rowena is a two part plastic craniotomy simulator designed to teach basic surgical techniques and was named after and modelled on the head of Ashpole’s daughter. The Rowena model (Realistic Operative Workstation for Educating Neurosurgical Apprentices) consists of a moulded plastic base with internal skull anatomy and a replaceable upper cranium with scalp, bone and dural layers. Inside the skull is a realistic plastic brain.

The awards aim to raise the profile of small businesses across the UK and their importance to the economy. As winner of the Business Innovation category for the East Midlands region, Neurodesign automatically proceed to the national final. Each category winner will receive £4,500, plus a half-day marketing workshop with the overall winner netting an additional £5,000. “The Apprentice” star and businesswoman Karren Brady will be the keynote speaker as well as presenting awards at the event.

A consultant neurosurgeon at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, Ashpole is delighted with the recognition that Neurodesign and Rowena have received. “The main motivation for developing Rowena was to enhance the experience and skills of our trainee surgeons and the feedback so far has been fantastic,” he comments. “We are eager to ensure that hospitals all over the UK, Europe and the world have access to this exciting training tool and so commercial recognition such as the business innovation award is very important to us.”
Rowena can be used with a three point headrest to teach anatomical landmarks and positioning. The scalp can be used with Raney clips to turn different flaps as well as standard burr holes and ICP monitoring devices. It can be drilled with a Hudson brace, or a Gigli saw and guide, as well as a variety of high speed drills. The underlying dura can be hitched up and opened to expose the brain whilst bone flaps can be replaced and fixed with sutures or a variety of plates and screws.

For closure, the dura is sutured; the bone flap replaced and fixed with any proprietary fixation system and the scalp stapled. Fractures can be reproduced with a hammer and fragments can be elevated and fixed. Compatible with CT and MRI, Rowena can be used with neuro navigation systems to help plan surgical approaches.