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Sawbones Medical Education Models Help Improve Patient Outcomes

Pacific Research Lab was founded in 1975 by Foss Miller, a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University.

The company’s first products were prepreg composite parts for the sporting goods industry. Soon a connection was made with Dr. Frederick Lippert who was the Chief of Orthopaedics at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Seattle and Associate Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Dr. Lippert was concerned that the orthopaedic resident training programs did not include enough hands-on training. Dr. Lippert’s vision was to have a plastic artificial bone that cut and drilled and felt like real bone to be used to practice all the various procedures of orthopaedic surgery. With the aid of Dr. Lippert’s enthusiasm and guidance, the right combination of materials was formulated at PRL and SAWBONES was born.

The next few years were spent perfecting the product and the teaching methods using the synthetic bones. Dr. Lippert set up a Psychomotor Skills Training course for the orthopaedic residents at the University of Washington to test the effectiveness of the new artificial practice bone. The results were dramatic. The skill level of the residents increased tremendously. Since that time, thousands of orthopaedic residents and surgeons have honed their skills by working on Sawbones synthetic bones.

The company, headquartered on Vashon Island, now has over 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space and provides Sawbones products to customers all over the world. In addition, we have a sales and customer service office and warehouse located in Malmoe Sweden - Sawbones Europe AB - servicing all of our Europe, Middle East and Africa customers.

The business has evolved through the years providing products to other medical disciplines, including veterinary, dental, pharmaceutical, internal medicine, and others. From the original bones for Dr. Lippert, sprang biomechanically accurate bones for advanced device testing, soft tissue medical models, models with sensory feedback, and computer integration. Partnering with our customers to provide innovative products has kept the company moving forward, vibrant and an enjoyable place to work. For over 40 years Pacific Research has been providing innovative solutions to customers around the world. Pacific Research is an employee-owned company.

Foss Miller and Denzil Miller of Sawbones at an early trade show.
Dr. Frederick Lippert working with an early Sawbones bone model.

Confidence Through Practice™