Robot teaches world's first remote surgery

Oct 03, 2007

Argentine surgeons have conducted the world's first remote surgical procedure taught by a U.S. surgeon more than 5,400 miles away using a robot.

With the help of the RP-7 Remote Presence Robot, Dr. Alex Gandsas, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, guided surgeons in Argentina through a laparoscopic gastric sleeve procedure for the treatment of morbid obesity.

The surgery followed a three-month training program, during which Gandsas educated Drs. Sergio Cantarelli and Gabriel Egidi in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, entirely through the robot. Without ever having met in person, the Argentine doctors learned the procedure by remotely participating in surgeries performed in the United States.

The RP-7 Remote Presence Robot, produced by InTouch Health Technologies Inc. of Santa Barbara, Calif., enables a medical specialist to mentor a physician or surgeon at a remote site using a high speed Internet connection.

The 5-foot-5 robot employs two-way cameras, microphones and other wireless technology including joystick-controlled mobility around the operating room, the company said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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