It’s Real: 5G Telesurgery

๐—œ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜†! There is โ€“ after all โ€“ something magical about humanity!

The weekend 3-4 February 2024, I have attended a remarkable event! The mission? Saving lives through the magic of skilled surgeons, pioneering robotics and the lightning speed of 5G networks. I had the honor of demystifying the buzz around 5G and latency.

The mastermind behind all that: Vip Patel, MD. An incredible robotic surgeon, a great visionary, a relentless professional, and a wonderful human being.

About 40 years ago, Rick Savata pioneered the concept of robotic surgery. About 30 years ago, Fred Moll โ€“ often called the โ€œfather of robotic surgeryโ€ โ€“ commercialized the idea through Intuitive Surgical. About 20 year ago, Jacque Marescaux pioneered remote robotic surgery through his famous Lindbergh Operation.

About 10 years ago, when at King’s College London and sponsored by Hans Vestberg, Ulf Ewaldsson and Erik Ekudden, I pioneered the notion of 5G-enabled surgery as I understood that end-to-end slicing would address SLA, performance and reliability issues. My collaborator then was the amazing robotic surgeon Prokar Dasgupta OBE.

Zoom forward to today: innovation brought us great robotic surgery solutions + slicing-enabled 5G Stand Alone is being deployed globally + robotic surgical skills grow + regulators start to listen. And above all, many surgeons came forward to become pioneers in the use of this magical technology.

So much happened over these 48h in Orlando, so here a summary on my personal highlights:

  • listening first-hand to the tech pioneers Rick, Fred and Jacque about the untold stories of their robotic surgery journeys;
  • spending quality time with Omar Al Kalaa, PhD (FDA) and Ankit Mathur (White House) to understand some other fundamental challenges;
  • incredibly engaging panels with robust yet humorous and kind discussions, with a real appetite to push this forward;
  • learning about the wonderful mission and leadership of the Society of Robotic Surgery (SRS) from Vipul (Exec Dir), SHARONA B. ROSS MD FACS (President), Martin Martino MD, MBA (past President);
  • UNBELIEVABLE (!) live operation over 10,000 km from Orlando to Dubai and Shanghai, using 5G โ€“ yes, 5G (!)
  • meeting in-person Silivia Lutucuta, Angolaโ€™s Minister of Health; A. Novello, former Surgeon General of the USA; and 10 sitting Presidents of Medical Societies

We know now what immediate issues need to be overcome, from a tech, regulatory and perception point of view. Letโ€™s walk this beautiful journey together!

As for today, I am feeling infinitely grateful for the brilliant minds and spirited discussions. Here’s to pushing boundaries, one bettered life at a time. โค๏ธ

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