5G network unites Portugal and Spain in unprecedented surgery – Tecnologia

The experiment took place on May 5 in the early afternoon and had the particularity of involving surgeons from different countries. But as the Champalimaud Foundation explains, the physical barrier has been blocked with technology, allowing the “supervising surgeon” to be “next to” the “executing surgeon”. The operation included glasses, augmented reality, 5G and software cutting edge. But in parts.

What happened:

  • This Thursday the surgeon Pedro Gouvia I entered the operating room in the breast unit Champalimaud Foundationin Lisbon, started breast cancer surgery.
  • for Spanish Rogelio Andres Lunaanother surgeon from the same unit, was responsible for assisting with the operation to provide Pedro Gouveia with additional information.

So far, nothing unusual. But the truth is that this session saw very little of “normal”. It was just that Rogelio Andres Luna was a little off the action. More specifically, 900 km from the operating room where the surgery was performedwhere he was on stage at the Congress of the Spanish Association of Breast Surgeons (AECIMA), which will take place from 5-7 May at the Faculty of Medicine of the Faculty of Zaragoza.

what were you doing there? Specifically to provide evidence of this An unprecedented form of remote surgical supervision.

geography

  • in LisbonPedro Gouveia is equipped with mixed reality glasses (Hololens 2, developed by Microsoft) – which allow the surgeon to see “the real world around him” and at the same time have access to “information displayed on special lenses, just like the visor” of a military pilot’s helmet.
  • in ZaragozaRogelio Andrés-Luna had only one working tool: a laptop connected to Pedro Gouveia’s glasses (Hololens) through a browser, but using a custom program developed by the German company remAID.
doctor. Pedro Gouveia (Champalimaud Foundation)

Altice Portugal . ®

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Altice Portugal . ®

technology

Of course, such interference can only happen with appropriate technology, since there are many technical problems that need to be taken into account. There is data to be shared per second, videos to be streamed in real time. In other words, a fast Internet / Wi-Fi connection is not enough.

As stated by the Champalimaud Foundation, it was necessary to ensure that the exact procedures of both surgeons were synchronized without an interval (“latency”) of several seconds between what one was doing and what the other was seeing. This is where 5G technology comes in (in this case via Altice Portugal’s 5G network, linked to Movistar in Spain).

  • The main point. Surgeon Pedro Gouveia sums up the importance of this technology by saying that this intervention was only possible thanks to 5G, because it “crushes the latency”.

during operation

Bypassing the latency problem, the Spanish surgeon was able to see Hololens just like his Portuguese counterpart. Moreover, he was able, for example, via his computer, to send short videos of similar surgeries already performed or even create a blue line indicating the place chosen for the initial incision.

“We conducted the world’s first use, live and live experiment, so-called ‘remote monitoring’ during breast cancer surgery,” Pedro Gouvia explains, in a statement.

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the future

The Portuguese surgeon believes that this experience is just a first step (“proof of concept”) that could change the way operations are performed and the way surgeons are educated in the future. Not only is it a more realistic tool available to students, but it is also a way to provide support for professionals starting their careers.

However, although it is an important step, it is only the beginning. For Pedro Gouveia, the operating room of the future will be a “multimedia room” and to get there you have to wait. It concludes, “We still have to validate methodologies, perform more surgeries, identify obstacles, and improve augmented reality glasses…”.

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