5G now allows teleassisted surgery: China successfully completes first animal operation
5G is called to be one of the technologies that will drive all kinds of changes. And among its many uses is tele-assisted surgery. During the last years we have seen some projects in laboratories and hospitals that were working to carry out tests remotely, with the doctor in one area and a robotic arm connected by 5G in the operating room. Now, as we know through SCMP, from China they have successfully completed one of their animal tests.
Between the Southeast China Research Institute Unicom in Fujian and the Mengchao Hepatobiliary Hospital of the Medical University together with Huawei China and Suzhou Kangduo Robot Co., they performed the surgery remotely on January 8 in the Fujian region. Dr. Liu Rong located 50 kilometers away from the operation was able to remove the animal's liver for recovery. A liver lobectomy performed entirely through 5G networks, in what would be the first successful test of this type.
60 minutes of low latency operation
5G will revolutionize tele-assisted surgery due to its low latency. While latency is too high with regular networks, latency of less than 0.1 seconds is achieved with 5G. A short enough response time so that the doctor's movements or errors are not irreparable.
The surgery lasted approximately 60 minutes. During this time the doctor was working remotely while the robotic arm performed the entire operation. As we can read, the animal's wounds were completely healed and vital signs were stable.
In the words of Liu Jingfeng, dean of Mengchao Hospital, "With advances in bandwidth, low latency and the Internet of Things, 5G technology will be used in surgical robots to allow real-time interconnections and eliminate the limits we had in remote surgery..
For years, connection and bandwidth problems have been one of the big problems of remote surgery. With 5G networks, different actors have found a possible solution to these limitations. At the moment it is only about tests on animals, but it would not be surprising that during this 2019 and the following years we continue to know more tests.
Experts believe that it still takes more than five years for us to see robots autonomously or remotely carrying out this type of operation, but the rise of 5G can be a great ally to achieve this.