Cincinnati surgeon leads first test of mobile robotic surgery

CINCINNATI--A team of military, telecommunications and surgical experts led by University of Cincinnati (UC) faculty are using an unmanned aircraft and sophisticated communication tools to take the next step toward making "telesurgery" a reality.

Telesurgery is a new approach to surgical care in which a surgeon performs operations using a surgical robot and advanced computer technology on a patient located miles away.

Timothy Broderick, MD, assistant professor of surgery at UC and medical director for its Center for Surgical Innovation (CSI), is leading the first test of a prototype communications platform for mobile telesurgery: the High Altitude Platforms for Mobile Robotic Telesurgery (HAPsMRT).

This two-phase telesurgery experiment takes place between Simi Valley, California--a desolate and arid area surrounded by hills and plains--and Seattle, Washington, June 59.

The HAPsMRT model--developed in collaboration with the U.S. Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center and the University of Washington--uses an unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV), or "drone," as the communications connecting point between a surgeon in one part of the country and a patient located hundreds of miles away.

Current telesurgery tools rely on satellite communication and streaming video delivered via high-speed Internet. In remote locations, explains Dr. Broderick, satellite signals are not always dependable and can result in delays that make surgery difficult.

"Reliable, high-speed communication signals are critical for telesurgery to work in day-to-day patient care," explains Dr. Broderick. "Our ultimate goal is to eliminate the communications lag to enable the surgeon to safely operate on a remote patient in real time."

HAPsMRT utilizes low-latency communication transmissions, so the communication signals travel over a shorter distance and with fewer delays.

In phase one of the mission, a simulated patie

Contact: Amanda Harper
University of Cincinnati

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