The first major trans-Atlantic telesurgical operation has been carried out.
Doctors in the United States removed a gall bladder from a patient in eastern France by remotely operating a surgical robot arm.
The procedure could make it possible for a surgeon to perform an operation on a patient anywhere in the world. Doctors at the European Institute of Telesurgery in Strasbourg say the procedure was successful and there were no complications.
The patient, a 68-year-old woman, was discharged two days after the operation.To operate on the patient in France, a surgeon working from New York controlled the arm of a surgical robot. Two medical teams were involved, linked by a video and a high-speed fibre-optic line.
The time delay between the surgeon's movements and the return video image displayed on screen was less than 200 milliseconds. The estimated safe lag time is 330 ms.
Professor Jacques Marescaux, who led the team, said the operation ushered in "the third revolution we've seen in the field of surgery in the past 10 years". "It lays the foundations for the globalisation of surgical procedures, making it possible to imagine that a surgeon could perform an operation on a patient anywhere in the world," he added.