First transatlantic robot-assisted operation
Jacques Marescaux (France)
Operation Lindbergh, a complete telesurgical operation carried out by a team of French surgeons located in New York on a patient in Strasbourg, France, was a total success. This is the first time in medical history that a technical solution has proved capable of reducing the time delay inherent to long distance transmissions, thus making this type of procedure possible...
Professor Marescaux, in New York...
...operated his patient in Strasbourg.
Code name: Lindbergh operation
Since 1993, the experts at IRCAD/EITS had been preparing for the impossible. The notion of long-distance surgery took shape within the EUREKA Master (minimal access surgery by telecommunication and robotics) project. It was felt that enhancing the quality, reliability and safety of the data transmission by digitizing and robotizing the surgical act could eliminate all space and time constraints. Robotization of the surgical act was first developed with the support of the Karlsruhe Research Center. This led to an effective, yet heavy, non-ergonomic system that was not suited for introduction in the operating room.
Wiser for the experience, the IRCAD/EITS team geared itself towards partnership with an industrial company. This involved working with ZEUSTM, a robot comprised of three arms. Two arms manipulate the instruments in response to the movement of the surgeon's hands. The third arm manipulates the voice-controlled endoscope. A console enables the surgeon to handle the joysticks that command the two instruments held by the robotic arms. Each articulated arm has a double security system. Signals are checked more than a thousand times per second. Manual information originating from the surgeon is analyzed by the master-slave interface and rendered safe. Demultiplication also enables the tele-effector to carry out extremely precise movements. [...]