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30,000 surgeons stream remote surgery consultation over TIM’s 5G


A 4K remote-surgery consultation has taken place in Italy, supported by TIM's 5G network.

Professor Giorgio Palazzini, Professor of Surgery at Sapienza University, used a virtual-reality visor in Rome to oversee an operation taking place in Santa Maria Hospital, Terni. Professor Palazzini was able to interact with medical staff in real-time during a laparoscopic procedure.

Three simulcasting cameras in the operating theatre – including a special 360° super high-definition device – allowed Professor Palazzini to simultaneously observe the procedure and the patient's biometrics. Professor Palazzini could also zoom in on important details, at the same time as viewing a live image of the patient's internal organs via a web-connected laparoscopic camera.

The event was live-streamed by approximately 30,000 surgeons around the world, including more than 2,500 professionals attending the 30th International Conference of Digestive System Surgery in Rome.

A ‘new era’

“Today we have taken an important step forward in the world of surgery, made possible by bringing together the technological and healthcare capabilities of the future,” said Elisabetta Romano, TIM's Chief Innovation & Partnership Officer. “New opportunities are arising for the sector to benefit from innovative solutions that serve both patients and the entire scientific community.”

“This is only the start of a new era of e-learning in all branches of medicine," added Professor Palazzini. “But its short-term future will be remote surgery, made possible by robots and 5G with virtually no latency.

"That means being able to operate on patients in any hospital that has 5G connectivity and robots, and real-time sharing of data-intensive diagnostic exams such as CT and MRI."

Several telcos are touting 5G’s role in healthcare. Telefónica recently demonstrated a 5G-enabled remote surgery assistance system. 02 is providing connectivity for a smart ambulance trial. BT demonstrated VR and AR over 5G for connected ambulance applications, following a remote-controlled ultrasound scan over the 5G network in June.