Lindbergh operation - intercontinental surgery

Today it is well acknowledged that telesurgery has great potential, and robotic technology offers remarquable solutions for remote access and teleoperation scenarios. The most important breakthrough in this field was a special experiment more than 7 years ago.
The first trans-Atlantic surgical procedure—the Lindbergh operation—was performed by Dr. Marescaux with a Zeus in September 2001. (Video coverage can be found here and also here).
The Zeus surgical system got ready at the same time with the da Vinci in 2000, offering similar advanced functions to the surgeon. It had two effector manipulator and the third camera holder arm, controlled in master-slave setup. The Zeus had only 2D vision system and a precision movement control inherited from the AESOP camera-holder. Other features, such as motion scaling and tremor filtering have also been introduced later. The advantage of the Zeus was the open UDP protocoll used to transfer the control signals between the surgeon and the patient, making it an ideal choice for telemanipulation experiments. (The company was purchased and the system discontinued after a complicated lawsuit case on patents.)
Dr. Marescaux was controlling the robot from New York (from the office building of the France Télécom due to regulatory issues and as they were worried about further network latencies), while the patient laid 6200 km away in Strasbourg, France. The cholecistectomy was performed without any complicatons. Based on previous research, it was estimated that the time delay between the master console and the linked robot mirroring should be less than 330 ms to perform the operation safely, while above 700 ms, the operator may have real difficulties with controlling Zeus. A dedicated trans-Atlantic 10 Mbps fiber optic link was used, transmitting not just the control signals and video-endoscope feedback, but also servicing the video conferencing facilities. (This required a 150M USD investment from the France Télécom.) An average below 150 ms communication lag time was experienced, that is barely noticeable for human users.
Further materials are available on the IRCAD website.


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