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By 2006, Dr. O'Hanlan saw that laparoscopic technology could be used to perform 98% of benign and most (but not all) gynecologic cancer conditions; but even with such well-documented benefits, there was a slow uptake in the mainstream use of these procedures in the early 21st century. She thus founded the Laparoscopic Institute for Gynecologic Oncology (LIGO) and wrote the course in 2006, certified by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, teaching minimally invasive surgeries, using both cadavers and pelvic simulators.


The LIGO course was unique in that it was the first course to use evidence as a basis for structured training. The course’s hands on laparoscopic training embodied the findings from the surgical training research showing what minimum number of sutures needed to have been placed, knots to have been tied, incisions to have been closed that brought a surgeon to a plateau of ability and performance that translated to OR skill improvements. Dr. O’Hanlan reported on the course effectiveness to the members of the American Association of Gynecologic Laproscopists: Evaluation of an evidence-based educational strategy using a novel simulated suture and knot-tying challenge, the "holiotomy".

Dr. O’Hanlan invented the “Holiotomy®” a modification of the penrose drain with six dots placed on each side of a cut hole, (the incision). The Holiotomy Challenge, accomplished by 86% of attendees at every course consisted of four Holiotomies closed laparoscopically in a pelvic simulator in four ways, requiring 40 knots and 24 suture passes through the dots.


Dr. O’Hanlan gave the LIGO course 19 times, teaching versions of this course to the residents at the University of California, San Francisco in Fresno CA, in to surgeons in Bucharest Romania.


The LIGO course was attended by over 2,600 surgeons from 43 countries around the world.


Dr. O’Hanlan was also a frequently invited speaker at the annual clinical meeting of the international Society for Gynecological Oncologists (SGO) and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL), with 15 poster and video presentations, and 60 journal publications to date.

89% Holiotomy completion_edited.jpg
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