Fierce HealthIT // COVID-19 has caused a surge in telemedicine. Is telesurgery next?

by Tina Reed

An operating room isn't exactly the easiest place to follow social distancing guidelines in the age of COVID-19.

Using 5G network technology, doctors in Italy recently demonstrated telesurgery could now be a valuable—and reliable—tool in allowing surgeons to do just that, according to a report published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

While the first telesurgery involving a human patient was done in 2001, the idea of telesurgery gaining traction has been stymied, in part, by the lack of fast and reliable network connections (as well as a dearth of robotic surgery technology in many hospitals).

But with both becoming more widely available, surgeons at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa, Italy performed a feasibility demonstration of telesurgery using robotic technology and a 5G network. They perform surgery on a cadaver's vocal cords from nearly 10 miles away over a wireless 5G network.

The authors say this is the first publ...

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