The procedure on a 41 year-old patient from Palermo, Italy, was a complete success. It is expected that the patient will be discharged within 24 hours, and will be able to return to normal activity within 3 days. The minimally invasive robotically assisted approach, practised by the surgeons, will reduce the pain and trauma to the patient, and will allow him to recover much quicker than using a traditional "open" surgical approach.
Dr. Moshe Rubin stated: "Although I was physically thousands of miles distant from the patient, I felt truly as if I were present in the operating room. I was able to participate in the progress of the case, and I am very grateful to Professor Huscher for this chance to collaborate using this new technology."
Professor Huscher stated: "The ability to include peers and mentors in these advanced robotic cases will certainly bring many more physicians the confidence they need to adopt the minimally invasive approach. Learning is a constant requirement of the life of every physician today, and the experience of telepresence is a wonderful new way for surgeons to learn."
John Soto, Computer Motion's Vice President and General Manager, Operations for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, stated: "The ability of SOCRATES to deliver telepresence and allow surgeons from remote locations to telementor and telecollaborate is a key differentiator of Computer Motion's system of products. Remote education and training significantly aids the rapid adoption of robotic technology by collapsing time and space, and allows surgeons to further disseminate their expertise worldwide in a telepresent fashion."
The SOCRATES Robotic Telecollaboration System is an integrated system of telecommunication equipment, networked surgical devices, and robotics that provides an efficient and economical pathway to enable remote mentoring and surgical collaboration. SOCRATES allows a surgeon located at a remote site to assist another surgeon who may be located in an operating room down the hall, across the country or on the other side of the world. Through its unique capabilities, the SOCRATES system effectively allows a surgeon to have a "telepresence" in a remote operating room.
At the American College of Surgeons' 88th Annual Clinical Congress, surgeons each day have been conducting live surgical telementoring sessions using the SOCRATES Robotic Telecollaboration System. Presenting surgeons demonstrated live telepresence from operating rooms in several cities in North America and Mexico. The ACS Congress attendees were invited to observe as surgeons mentor their peers in advanced robotically assisted minimally invasive procedures.
The live surgery events marked the first time that surgeons in the United States have used the SOCRATES system at a clinical congress to demonstrate surgical telepresence. The SOCRATES system allowed the mentoring surgeons to annotate the endoscopic images during the procedures, conduct video and audio conferencing, and to share control of the AESOP robotic endoscope positioner in the operating room.
Institutions scheduled to participate in the demonstrations included Hospital Torre Medica, Mexico; Montefiore Medical Center, New York; London Health Sciences Centre, Ontario, Canada; International Heart Institute of Palm Springs, California; and the Eastern Virginia Medical School, Virginia.
Computer Motion Inc. is a developer of surgical robotics systems serving over 900 customers and 3000 surgeons in 32 countries. More news on the SOCRATES tele-collaborative robotic surgery system is available in the VMW May 2002 article Computer Motion's Socrates System used in tele-urology procedure between Virginia and Berlin.