Remote Surgery: Doctor Uses Robot to Perform First Long-Distance Heart Surgery
Doctors have been using robots to perform surgeries since 2001. But performing a remote surgery, also known as telesurgery, is a new feat and technology breakthrough. For the first time, a surgeon in India controlled a robotic arm that was 20 miles away and performed a procedure on five patients.
The long-distance surgery was performed by Dr. Tejas Patel of the Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. “I am honored to have been a part of this medical milestone,” Patel told ZDNet. “The application of telerobotics for remote treatment has the potential to impact a significant number of lives by providing access to specialized care that may not otherwise be possible.”
The surgery involves a series of five percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures on patients who were 20 miles away from him. “The feat was pulled off using a precision vascular robot developed by Corindus, ZDNET reported. The results of the surgeries, which were successful, have just been published in EClinicalMedicine, a spin-off of medical journal The Lancet.
The introduction of 5G link now opens doors for surgeons to perform surgery on a patient even though they are not physically in the same location. As 5G matures, this next generation wireless network will enable wider adoption of remote surgery and allow each movement to be replicated by the robot more quickly, within milliseconds.
The breakthrough is an example of telemedicine, which enables the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the telecommunications infrastructure. Telemedicine is an emerging field that leverages advances in networking, robotics, mixed reality, and communications technologies to beam in medical experts to remote locations for everything from consultations to surgical procedures. It allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients using common technology, such as video conferencing and smartphones, without the need for an in-person visit.
“I am honored to have been a part of this medical milestone,” stated Dr. Patel. “The application of telerobotics for remote treatment has the potential to impact a significant number of lives by providing access to specialized care that may not otherwise be possible. I am pleased to share my experience with the clinical community in such a well-respected publication that is part of the Lancet family,” according to ZDNET citing Dr. Patel.