Duke Vivarium

STAR Course Human Fresh Tissue Lab Header
2022 STAR Course schedule

Two full days spent in the Duke Vivarium represent a highlight of the course. Students assume the role of surgeons, taking turns leading each other through core surgical operations in a live, large animal model. Unlike the chemically preserved tissue utilized in anatomy classes, this model preserves the surgical planes and three-dimensional architecture important for preparing for the operating room.

As the capstone of the course, it requires students to marshal lessons learned in prior sessions by calling for the correct instruments, the relevant staple loads, and the appropriate suture for each stage of the procedure. The skills gained during the bowel and vascular anastomosis sessions are also utilized. These days are routinely remembered as the best part of the course; performing these operations symbolizes the transition from student to resident.

Cadaver Lab Session
2017 STAR course participants in the cadaver lab

Operative Experience

Procedures performed during the two-day experience
Open Procedures Laparoscopic Procedures Trauma Procedures

Midline laparotomy

Running the bowel

Small bowel resection

Stapled small bowel anastomosis

Hand-sewn small bowel anastomosis

End ileostomy

Diverting loop ileostomy




Closing fascia

Hasson and Veress needle entry

Diagnostic laparoscopy

Running the bowel

Small bowel resection

Salpingo-oopheractomy (simulated appendectomy)


Endo-close for fascia

Exploratory laparotomy

Penetrating Injuries to Repair:

  • Enterotomy
  • Cystotomy
  • IVC injury
  • Liver lac



Neck exploration

Chest tubes


Cardiotomy and repair

IVC Repair


STAR Cadaver Lab