A team of surgeons and anesthetists They performed a surgical intervention in the colon of a patient in the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona Remote assistance thanks to 5G Vodafone mobile technology by Dr. Antonio de Lacy, head of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Service of the aforementioned hospital center, which was at the Fira in l'Hospitalet de Llobregat, where the MWC19.
The intervention in real time consisted in a sigmoidectomy, an extirpation of part of the intestine where a small tumor lodged. The more than 400 attendees could see on a video screen how the Clinic team handled the scalpel following the graphic instructions that Dr. Lacy drew on a tablet with a stylus. The hospital team (three surgeons, two nurses and two anesthetists) was also connected with headphones and video with the Mobile room.
The importance of the remote operation being performed with 5G networks instead of the 4G that is currently used in mobile telephony is the low latency of the new generation networks, that is, the minimum response time (15 milliseconds) between the doctor who directs the operation (mentor) gives a graphic instruction until the team that is in the operating room executes it.
The project, called "Surgeon connected 5G" allowed to reduce this latency to a minimum, a critical factor for the application of technological solutions to the health sector, and also taking advantage of the greater bandwidth of the 5G that allows the sharing of high definition and large images. amounts of information almost in real time.
The operation has been technologically possible thanks to the 5G pilot network that Vodafone has set up in Barcelona and the AIS Channel Telestration solution, platform on-line of medical education and pioneer in teletraining of surgeons. The operation has been carried out in the operating room of Hospital Clinic, among the most advanced in the world.
The next step to telementoring it will be that the intervention is not only guided remotely by a doctor but is executed by robots instead of surgeons. "But the dilemma is knowing who is responsible for that operation in case of failure and if we are willing to assume that failure," assures EL PAÍS, the CEO of AIS Channel, Rod Menchaca.
Menchaca explained in the act that the surgery has advanced more in the last 15 years than in the past 150 and it is almost impossible to keep up with that progress. "Someone must take on the challenge of getting these advances to all corners of the planet in real time and what better than at the hands of the best surgeons in the world"
Democratization of health
Dr. Lacy highlighted during the presentation of the pilot test that the technological solution allows a significant saving of costs and an advance for the doctors. "The possibility of connecting operating rooms and surgeons remotely is another step in AIS Channel's mission to democratize medical education worldwide, with the enormous social and health benefits that this entails," he said.
The CEO of Hospital Clinic, Josep Maria Campistol, stressed that "this intervention marks a before and after in the world of medicine." "The Clínic has always opted for technological innovation and it is a pride that our hospital has become the first in our country to have 5G technology. We have started with remote surgery and we are convinced that 5G, a faster and safer technology, will help us in the remote control of different situations that will facilitate the day to day of health professionals and patients. "
In addition, John Hoffman, president of the GSMA operators association, assessed that "in the future, 5G technology will allow synchronizing all the necessary devices to allow the simultaneous connection of different specialists around the world and improve the conditions of any type of operation." surgical ".