A remote wireless surgery with a 5G connection was accomplished for the first time in the world at the Polyclinic of Bari. These days, history has been made, with major progress in contemporary medicine, and the mark is once again that of Italian doctors.
A 53-year-old man with Cogan’s epithelial dystrophy underwent the procedure. Professor Gianni Alessio, the eye surgeon, operated directly from his room, although the patient was in the operating room.
Process automation, thanks to technology
This is a real revolution and a milestone in medicine, which in the future – hopefully – will prevent people with certain conditions from having to embark on long journeys to be followed by the best specialists. Even if it is thousands of miles away, a fully equipped operating room will be sufficient to undergo a remote surgery conducted by the most qualified specialist.
To achieve this new and prestigious goal, which underlines the excellence of Italian healthcare, new technologies and specialties had to be combined.
The doctor operated remotely from his room, with the 4D Suite platform at ivis Technologies. TIM’s 5G connection allowed a data transmission latency of less than 50 milliseconds to be maintained. The Polytechnic of Bari has implemented a blockchain-based health data storage system.
A collaboration of industry specialists
The surgery was made possible by the 4d Suite platform, which directs the complete cycle of screening, diagnosis, therapy, and follow-up for corneal illnesses via remote control. This platform was created as a result of the Apulian business Ivis Technologies’ Horus project.
Dr. Gianni Alessio tested and guided the Ires-2khz laser, which he controlled in real-time using the Ivis Remote Control Station and 3D visualization. The patient was instead lying in the operating room, assisted by a control team.
To prevent the chance of line drops and other issues that could compromise the operation’s success, a super-fast TIM 5G connection was established, which was based on two radio modules stationed in the two positions and connected by a 10gbps optical fiber. Thanks to this super-fast line, the doctor was able to operate in real time with a latency of less than 50 milliseconds and with a 3D visualization of the patient’s eye.
The usage of a blockchain designed to preserve the data security of the entire intervention makes the whole thing even more remarkable. Moreover, this system was developed by Professor Michele Ruta, professor of the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at the Politecnico of Bari.
Blockchain technology applied to surgery allows you to track each step of the process. A sort of digital black box of the operation, in which everything is recorded and saved indelibly and irreversibly. In the healthcare industry, such a data management system ensures maximum transparency and trustworthiness, protecting both patients and health professionals – said professor Ruta.
As previously stated, the man had Cogan’s epithelial dystrophy, a condition that affects a membrane at the base of the cornea. It is distinguished by the presence of microcystic lesions and is associated with blurred vision, discomfort, and excessive tearing.
“Performing the surgery with a remote control, through fully automated processes, opens new frontiers for the eye surgeon, allowing him to operate on complex corneal diseases remotely, safely, wherever the operating room is located.” said Professor Gianni Alessio following his speech at the press conference.
A milestone for Italian healthcare
“We have made to touch with hand the maximum that the available technology can offer,” said Giovanni Migliore, General Manager of the Polyclinic of Bari. ”In fact, only a few systems are capable of ensuring performance homogeneity and minimizing intraoperative risk by performing operations with the surgeon in a geographical location different from that of the patient. And we did it here in Bari confirming the high level of excellence of our hospital and our professionals” continued.
Michele Emiliano, president of the Apulian Region, wrote on Facebook: “The Polyclinic of Bari has shown that in Puglia we are at the highest levels of international excellence, and this is the path we must pursue. Today’s experience will be presented at international medical congresses and will help regulate the management of telesurgery at European level to ensure homogeneity of performance and minimize intraoperative risk“.
This remains a great achievement for Italian healthcare and ophthalmology, thanks to the combination of scientific knowledge and technological innovations that in recent years have affected all branches of the life science sector.
Featured Image Credit
You may also be interested in: