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Remote Telepresence Surgery: The Canadian Experience

August 06, 2017

UroToday- This important report from Canada presents 22 telerobotic general surgery laparoscopy cases performed by two surgeons over a distance of 400 kilometers; from a teaching hospital in Hamilton, Ontario to a community hospital in rural Northern Ontario. No intraoperative complications occurred and all post operative recovery was uneventful with minimal telecommunication challenges. However, while Anvari has shown this to be feasible and patients with appropriate education are highly receptive to ARTS (Assisted Robotic Telepresence Surgery) there are considerable limitations. The presently available clinical robots are not capable of telepresence remote operation across a network. The sheer size, weight and cost of the Intuitive daVinci Robot makes it unsuitable for remote regions and small communities. The cost of establishing the telecommunication lines with the required quality of service may also be prohibitive if not already in place, as it is in Canada. There is also the cost of training the remote surgeon and operating room team in the use of the robot technology and having an IT person available for technical support at the community site. However, the potential for "on the job" training of surgeons in new techniques and the development of user friendly robotic systems may provide important surgical interventions in remote locations in the future. This is truly the surgery of the future!

M. Anvari.

Surg Endosc. 21(4): 537-41, April 2007

Reported by UroToday Contributing Editor Elspeth M. McDougall, MD

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