A hospital in Hangzhou, China successfully conducted an ultra-long-distance gallbladder removal through a robot using 5G technology. The patient was located in Aral, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, some 4,650 kilometers away from the hospital. Both the core software and hardware of the four-arm endoscopic robot were developed in China. Liang Xiao, an experienced surgeon who carried out the operation through the robot’s operating platform, expressed his pride in doing the surgery with a robot system that has been independently researched and produced in China.
The patient, a woman in her 30s who lives in Aral, was diagnosed with gallstones over a year ago. She began experiencing pains in her upper right abdomen a week ago and examinations revealed that she had developed acute inflammation of the gallbladder that required surgery as soon as possible. The patient opted for robot-assisted surgery after learning about it.
Typically, specialists from Hangzhou would have to take connecting flights and travel for eight and a half hours by air, followed by another 30 minutes by bus, to reach the local hospital in Aral for an on-site surgery. This process is equally troublesome for a patient who has to travel from Aral to Hangzhou for the operation. “How can we avoid all the hassle and serve patients’ needs at the same time? The answer is a 5G-enabled robotic operation,” said Liang.
Long-distance robotic surgery can break the limit of time and space, as well as the constraints of uneven resource distribution, said Cai Xiujun, president of the Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, who watched the entire surgery at Aral hospital. It saves time for both the doctors and the patients, reduces economic costs, and enhances treatment efficiency.
In recent years, China has provided a lot of support for the development and application of technologies such as robot-assisted remote operations powered by 5G. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and 16 other government departments have unveiled a “robotics+” action plan, which calls for the promotion of a host of application scenarios, including robot-assisted remote operations powered by 5G.
The successful gallbladder removal surgery through a 5G-powered robot is a major milestone in the advancement of healthcare technology. With further improvements in this technology, medical procedures will become more accessible to people living in remote areas, resulting in better health outcomes for patients.