Medical innovation: Tumour removed from patient remotely via tele-surgery

Reported as the first such case in the country, the patient went under the knife at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre in Rohini.
The surgeon conduct the operation in a different city through tele-surgery while the patient remained in the OT of a hospital where he was admitted for his treatment.
The surgeon conduct the operation in a different city through tele-surgery while the patient remained in the OT of a hospital where he was admitted for his treatment.

NEW DELHI: In a show of medical innovation which can open gates for remote surgeries, a cancer patient went under the knife where a surgeon removed the cancerous tumour from his body sitting remotely.

The surgeon conduct the operation in a different city through tele-surgery while the patient remained in the OT of a hospital where he was admitted for his treatment.

Reported as the first such case in the country, the patient went under the knife at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre in Rohini. The surgeon, who performed the operation sitting in Gurgaon, conducted the surgery through a robotic technology placed in the OT which shadowed the surgeon in real time.

Dr Sudhir Rawal, Medical Director of the Hospital and the surgeon in the case, said the surgery was performed at the same pace and duration which it would have taken if he was physically present in the OT.

“I was sitting in the workshop of the firm whose technology we acquired for the surgery. We cut out the cancer-affected cells around the patient’s urinary tract, removed his urinary bladder and the lymph node, everything in 1 hour 45 minutes with not a single second of delay. Every action was happening in real time and this has happened for the first time in India,” he told this newspaper.

Speaking about the procedure, the doctors said he wore an immersive 3D glasses which showed the life-size image of the area where surgery was performed while he used a magnetic field where his hand gestures were imitated by the robot placed in the OT.

However, before performing this procedure on the patient, the surgeon used it on the rats to figure out the accuracy. “We tested it on animals. The accuracy was 100 per cent. Then we went ahead to use it on a human,” Rawal added.

According to Rawal, this technology could revolutionize healthcare as complex surgeries can be done on patients based in Tier 3 or 4 cities where there is a shortage of expert doctors and surgeons.

“All you need is this robot, some training and a stable network. We can take excellent medical care available in class 1 cities to across the country. A superspeciality surgeon sitting in AIIMS can do the surgery on a patient in a remote area. It will save patients’ time as they would not have to travel to metro cities where tertiary centers and superspeciality hospitals are available. Besides, during operations, there are moments when you need expert advice from specialists. This technology would also enable that,” he said.

However, the surgeon also said that the fibre optic network is crucial for this tele-surgery technology to work without any time lag.

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