OP in the Metaverse: The Doctor is 900 km away

For the first time, remote breast cancer surgery was performed. There was a doctor with the patient. The other was 900 kilometers away in another country.

In Lisbon, in the Breast Unit at the Champalimaud Foundation, the surgeon Dr. Pedro Gouveia on site. Spaniard d. Rogelio Andrés Luna supervised the surgery and Juvia from the University of Zaragoza in Spain.

Thanks to Metaverse, the operation took place as if the two surgeons were in the same room.

Dr. Gouveia wore Hololens 2 mixed reality glasses. With them, he could not only see the patient in front of him. It can also read the information directly projected onto the eyeglass lens. As with Terminators. However, a life here is saved rather than extinguished. Dr. Gouveia is a pioneer in the field of metaverse operations. He has used HoloLens many times for breast cancer surgeries. While at the Champalimaud Foundation, he developed a non-invasive digital method that allows surgeons to locate a tumor as if the surrounding breast tissue was not visible.

Dr Pedro Gouveia and Dr Rogelio Andrés-Luna, Credit: Helena Costa, Altice Portugal.

Dr. Andrés-Luna was 900 kilometers from the scene. He was even on stage at the congress of the Spanish Society of Breast Surgeons at the time. With Dr. Gouveia demonstrated the latest method for remote surgical monitoring.

All that Dr. said. Andrés-Luna needed a laptop for this. This is connected to the HoloLens of Dr. Gouveia was connected via a private 5G network. They used a German program for this. Despite the distance between the two doctors, they reported that everything went well. It was as if the supervising surgeon was standing next to the performing surgeon.

response time

What if there is a delay in the information? How can surgeons synchronize their actions when several seconds elapse between what one did and the other?

Use neither 4G nor WiFi, but 5G. Dr. Gouveia said that “5G reduces latency to a few milliseconds. That is why it is so important in our experience.”

“We have conducted the world’s first live trial during a breast cancer operation using what is known as ‘remote monitoring’.

Dr. Gouveia believes that remote monitoring has the potential to become a key feature of future operating rooms. The 5G network makes remote monitoring quite realistic. Dr. Andrés Luna explained: “I was given ‘intern’ hints. I was able to tell him where he should be especially careful and to show him his photos and videos. We were in audio-visual contact the whole time.”

Doctors relied on major phone companies to perform the surgery. Altice Portugal at the Champalimaud Foundation website. Telefónica on the Spanish side. The success of the operation proved the validity of the concept and Dr. Gouveia believes it will change the way surgeries are performed in the future. The potential you have to mentor new surgeons is very valuable.

Dr. Gouveia explains that currently young surgeons, once they have completed their training, make their surgical debut without any supervision. This is especially the case in remote places and countries. Sometimes they are the only people qualified to perform surgeries. “Your operations can be recorded and then evaluated. But during the process itself, they are alone and need help.”

Dr. Gouveia says technology can be used to assist surgical students during surgeries. Almost as if they were in the same room. “The breakthroughs that immersive technologies will achieve through remote guidance/monitoring open a new era: the use of the so-called ‘metaverse’ in postgraduate medical education. The metaverse is defined as Internet access via augmented, virtual, mixed and/or extended reality via a headset. It is already being seen as a next-generation mobile computing platform.”

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