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NOTE: The SCOI CLASroom website is under construction. This is currently the only
page available. More coming soon!


The SCOI CLASroom, which stands for the Center for Learning Arthroscopic Skills, is the first center of its kind - a state-of-the-art training facility for orthopedic residents, practicing surgeons, fellows, technicians, assistants, nurses, and representatives of surgical manufacturers. The CLASroom is staffed by full-time technicians and SCOI fellows and provides lifelike dry cadavers, virtual reality simulators and video training modules to teach basic and cutting-edge arthroscopic techniques.

Noncadaveric Learning

Dr. Snyder founded the CLASroom as a result of his frustration with trying to teach arthroscopic should procedures using cadaveric parts. "It is a very unpleasant way to learn and the experience is very marginal. Once you do one operative procedure on a cadaver part, you can't do it again." But with a virtual reality simulator or lifelike model, procedures can be performed over and over until the student masters the task.

Dr. Snyder continues, "for somebody to go to a course, spend $2,000 to $3,000 on transportation and the course itself, and not get anything to take home and practice with is not a good way to learn. When someone comes to the CLASroom the tuition is low, just enough to cover the technicians' costs, and the visitor can take away applicable skills. Our CLASroom technicians and SCOI fellows help visitors as they go through arthroscopic exercises. Visitors are able to practice 100 rotator cuff repairs until they feel comfortable doing it on their own."

Learning Stations


"Alex the Shoulder Professor" is a lifelike arthroscopy model manufactured by Sawbones Inc. of Vashon, Washington. Alex is a dry-lab simulator and is now able to be used with an arthroscopic camera and scope, to provide a more complete hands-on training experience. Three stations are available with video equipment and all the necessary hand tools, suture anchors and disposable materials to enable visitors to learn and practice the steps in arthroscopic surgery such as reconstructions including suture passing and anchor insertions.


"Sammy" is a virtual reality arthroscopic simulator produced by the Mentice Company of Sweden. This extraordinary computerized simulator is the most realistic tool currently available for learning shoulder arthroscopy. Sammy is a complete 3-D simulation of the entire shoulder environment, and is a valuable aid for teaching hand-eye coordination, triangulation, anatomy and surgical techniques. Through a force-feedback system, the user experiences the same tactile sensations as when actually operating in the shoulder. The simulation is complete with "fluid" and even "blood" when a vessel is accidentally cut. The number of procedures that can be performed on Sammy is rapidly increasing. Subacromial decompression, capsular shrinkage, and removal of loose bodies are all currently available, and soon cuff and labral reconstruction, as well as capsular plication will be added. Mentice is presently working on a knee module for the simulator and plans for other joints are in the works.


"Misty" is a virtual reality task simulator designed to teach bimanual manipulations using a series of hand tools connected to a computer. This simulator is remarkably useful for training all levels of surgeons to be efficient and precise when operating with a scope and video screen.

Audio and Video Cable Links
Visitors can participate in two on-going arthroscopic surgeries being performed in the Center for Orthopedic Surgery, Inc., through 2-way audio-video communication. At the same time the visitor may practice the techniques used by the surgeons on the "Alex" or "Sammy" simulators located in the CLASroom.

Media Library
CLASroom visitors have complete access to an extensive assortment of tapes, CD's and DVD's that provide instruction on hundreds of surgical procedures and that can be copied for future use. Two computer stations allow visitors to develop their own video editing and production skills, produce Power Point presentations, access online data and interact with other centers through the Internet.

Stephen J. Snyder, MD, and his partners at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute have always been committed to the education of other medical professionals. The CLASroom is the latest step in the pursuit of educational excellence. Each year, hundreds of visitors come to SCOI to learn and observe.

The CLASroom is located in SCOI's main office at:
  6815 Noble Avenue
  Van Nuys, California 91405

For more information on SCOI, please visit