A system for training a clinician in energy-based surgical techniques that advantageously does not require the simulated tissue to be electrically conductive is provided. The simulated tissue comprises one or more materials. A heat generator is configured in the shape of a medical instrument typically encountered in energy-based surgical procedures such as electrosurgery or electrocautery. The instrument delivers sufficient heat to melt at least one of the materials in order to simulate energy-based surgical techniques such as excising target material. The one or more materials are configured in the simulated tissue such that their relative thermoplasticity defines a predetermined surgical pathway of a desired clinical outcome.