The World's First Obesity Surgery Performed by a Surgeon at a Distance

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Abstract

Background:

In recent years, laparoscopic procedures have gained popularity. The laparoscopic technique is, however, more difficult than the conventional approach, especially in obese patients. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate a solution to these difficulties. Method: On September 16, 1998, a laparoscopic gastric banding procedure was performed by a surgeonwhile he was actually sitting at a distance from his patient. The surgeon's assistant was scrubbed and gowned and stood at the patient's side. The surgeon manipulated handles that were connected to a computer in command of robotic arms mounted on the operating table near the patient. The robotic arms contained surgical tools with articulated tips, well inside the abdominal cavity. The system constituted a master-slave construction called Mona (Intuitive Surgical, Mountain View, CA). The entire procedure (adjustable silicone gastric banding) was performed solely by this system without any other intervention.

Results:

The entire procedure lasted 90 minutes. The blood loss was 25 mL. The patient left the hospital on the second postoperative day. Conclusion: This procedure demonstrates that telesurgical procedures are feasible, can be performed safely even in obese patients, and improve the surgeon's comfort by restoring ergonomically acceptable conditions, by increasing the number of degrees of freedom, and by recreating the eye-hand connection lost in videoendoscopic procedures.

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