Telesurgery is the performance of robotic surgery over a distance using a communication link. Transmitting low latency dual high definition signals for three-dimensional vision and instrument commands with minimal time lag or latency were critical. Total end-to-end latency was approximately 300 ms, and will be expected to shorten when the Phase C clinical testing platform is completed.
Dr. Reiza Rayman, President of Titan Medical Inc., commented as follows: "The concept of long distance remote control can bear many benefits. An increase in the surgeons' range of 'ability to operate' will bring their expertise to a greater number of patients. Expert collaborations and procedural training will be simpler, quicker, and more effective. Patient transportation costs will decrease. Under-serviced communities can be supported by established hospitals. Surgeons will be removed from harm of a battlefield in military applications."
The extreme distances in these tests were implemented to generate worst-case scenario data. "In day-to-day applications, we expect the distances to be much shorter. These will likely be between neighbouring cities, a tertiary hospital catchment area or proximate offshore locations", commented Dr. Rayman.
Previous research has shown that 350 ms or less latency is required for surgeons to effectively perform telesurgery. Additionally, the amount of bandwidth needed to transmit the high definition video is being analysed. Specific data on latency and bandwidth results of these tests will be published shortly in a full White Paper.
Stephane Boisvert, President of Bell Canada's Enterprise Group, said the tests are an important next step in the evolution of telesurgery that Bell has supported for several years. "We have proven in the past that the quality of the Bell network can support telesurgery over shorter distances, such as from Hamilton to Sudbury. But thanks to these tests we are now seeing the very real potential of telesurgery over much greater distances. That means significant benefits for more patients, for caregivers and for the economics of our health care system as a whole, all of which are critically important to the quality of life Canadians enjoy."
Telesurgery is when a surgeon in one location - using remote controlled robotics and state-of-the-art communications networks - performs surgery on a patient from a different location. Telesurgery is a combination of advanced elements of robotics, communication technologies and management information systems. Currently in the field of robotic surgery, most robots are controlled by surgeons at the location of the surgery.
Telesurgery, on the other hand, offers the promise for patients to have access to surgeons from around the world, without the need for patients to travel beyond their local hospital for surgery.
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers with solutions to all their communications needs, including telephone services, wireless communications, high-speed Internet, digital television and voice over IP. Bell also offers integrated information and communications technology (ICT) services to businesses and governments, and is the Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Bell is proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive Telecommunications Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc.
Titan Medical Inc. is a Canadian public company focused on the development and commercialization of robotic surgical technologies. The company is currently developing Amadeus, a next generation 4-armed robotic surgical system, with the objective of enabling surgeons to remotely manipulate surgical instruments. Robotic surgery has developed over the past 10 years into a proven and growing method of treatment. The global robotic surgical market size is currently estimated to be $3,4 billion with potential for placement of 6000 robotic surgical systems. The company is researching and developing innovative technologies to empower surgeons to use robots in the operating room of the future.
More news about the co-operation between Bell Canada and Titan Medical Inc. can be found in the VMW March 2009 article HaiVision's MAKO-HD supports Titan Medical and Bell Canada's groundbreaking test of telesurgery technologies.