World’s first remote brain surgery performed
Dr. Ling Zhipei remotely implanted a neurostimulator into his patient’s brain on Saturday, Chinese state-run media reports. The surgeon manipulated the instruments in the Beijing-based PLAGH hospital from a clinic subsidiary on the southern Hainan island, located 3,000km away. The surgery is said to have lasted three hours and ended successfully. The patient, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, is said to be feeling well after the pioneering operation.
The doctor used a computer connected to the next-generation 5G network developed by Chinese tech giant Huawei. The new device enabled a near real-time connection, according to Dr. Ling. “You barely feel that the patient is 3,000 kilometers away,” he said.
Conventional 4G networks do not allow surgical operations to be performed due to video lag and remote control delays. The new technology seems to have resolved these issues, the surgeon says.
Medical institutions worldwide have made an array of experiments with robotic “telesurgery,” the most striking example being American da Vinci Surgical System. But the technology has yet to make a significant commercial impact, as existing gadgets are criticized for having a number of performance issues.