Virtual training methods lack the look and especially the feel of operating on a real organ. Thus, additional training resources are still required. Developing these is part of the work of Professor Takuro Saito of the Aizu Medical Center, Fukushima Medical University, Japan. Saito is an expert in the field of gastroenterological surgery, with more than 30 years’ experience and therefore has a keen understanding of the need for new training techniques. He has created a novel method of preserving the small intestines of a pig in such a way as to maintain all the important physical characteristics. He explains the benefits to teaching this could provide: ‘If surgical residents use our model to train their surgical skills and understanding of auto-suturing machines, they can conduct surgery earlier and more skilfully. Furthermore, medical students will be interested in surgery if they are able to suture organs by themselves in demonstrations.’ At the same time, the model method he has developed removes many of the negative aspects of working with animal models. Saito sees this model as the first step to creating a whole body of preserved organs with which to teach the technical skills of surgery. Saito has adapted a newly invented preservation technique to the porcine small intestine. He is using N-vinyl-2-pyrolidone (NVP) an organic compound more typically used as a precursor to more useful products. NVP is colourless and was recently demonstrated to be an effective preservative of human cadavers. Typically, formaldehyde has been used to preserve bodies and specimens; however, NVP has a number of advantages in the context of creating surgical models. Formaldehyde is highly effective at preserving specimens against degradation from microorganisms. The chemical solution functions by both denaturing the proteins that are a key source of nutrients for microorganisms, as well as killing any contaminants present. However, it typically disrupts fine structures in soft tissues such as the gastroenterological tract. In particular, it can cause the mucosal layers to completely change form. It also hardens the tissue beyond its normal rigidity. NVP does not suffer from these problems and can accurately maintain the soft structures of the intestines.