There are a few people in our lives that most people want to have the upmost trust in. If we have a religious leader in our lives, the person who does our hair, whoever works on our vehicles, and our doctors. 

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The trust in our doctors normally comes from the vibe we get from seeing the physician face to face, being able to interact with them. Then of course, being able to see the results of their advice come to pass helps too.  

Technology has made it so in certain cases we can see a doctor virtually, which can be helpful for many reasons, one of which is when we need to see a doctor even if they aren’t close to where we live.  

But when it comes to surgery, that requires you or the doctor to travel, right? Maybe not anymore. A recent article in Interesting Engineering describes a surgical procedure that took place in China that was done by a doctor in Rome, over 5000 miles away.  

The surgery was removing a lesion from a cancer patient's prostate via the internet. The article talks about what is called a “robust 5G” internet connection that helps keep the two machines connected to one another while the procedure was underway.  

Teams from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the urology department at the Third Medical Center of the People’s Liberation Army worked on this surgery. 

This isn’t a new concept at all. The article talks about the first surgical robots being discussed in the 1970’s by NASA so they could do remote surgery on astronauts in space if need be.  

Then a system came on the market in the 80’s and was updated in 1998. Then 24 years ago, the FDA approved Intuitive Signals “da Vinci” model. The first “distance” surgery was conducted in 2001, but there were challenges with the technology. And “Challenges” is a word that you never want to hear when it comes to surgery. 

 I’m sure now that surgery from 5,000 miles away has been performed successfully, we will hear of more of these types of procedures, pending insurance pre-authorization of course.  

 

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