09.10.19

Surgeons in Japan and Spain collaborate on operation over 5G

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A surgeon in Málaga, Spain has operated with real-time assistance from Japan as part of a demonstration of 5G and AI technology.

Quirónsalud Málaga Hospital and Telefónica staged the demonstration at the IV Advanced Digestive Endoscopy Conference in what is claimed to be the world's first medical conference with live, interactive digestive endoscopy interventions retransmitted through 5G.

Dr Pedro Rosón Rodríguez, head of the digestive system service at the Quirónsalud Málaga Hospital performed seven surgeries in Málaga with the real-time assistance from Dr Katsumi Yamamoto, director of the Endoscopy Centre at Osaka Hospital in Japan. 

Augmented reality technology was incorporated to provide information for the operation over the videoconference allowing doctors and assistants interact.

Málaga is one of the Spanish cities chosen by Telefónica to develop its 5G Technology Cities project.

Mercedes Fernández, innovation manager at Telefónica, said: "The operations organised at this conference are just an example of the numerous practical applications that 5G can have in healthcare. Thanks to two key features of this technology – the low latency that allows transmission without delays and the ability to handle large video streams at high speed – it was possible to perform this intervention with the added value of doing so live and in real time with the interaction of doctors and attendees to provide solutions and ask questions about the clinical case that was undertaken.”

Dr Rodríguez said: "The experience of previous years in organising innovative training courses in digestive endoscopy allows us this year to provide a global training course thanks to 5G technology, something that might seem science fiction but that we are making reality today.

“The use of 5G and augmented reality is, without doubt, what stands out in comparison with our previous editions and with any other standard medical workshops. We are therefore proud to keep and to continue offering an innovative training space with the live conducting of cases by specialists from Spain and abroad, with an emphasis on theory and reviewing the latest advances in interventional endoscopy".

The 5G technology provided by Telefónica was able to transmit 4K quality videos of endoscopy systems at high speed. It also minimised delays due to the latency of 5G and enabled tutoring from Japan, as well allowing 100 doctors and attendees to interact with the operation.

The videoconference used WebRTC and HTML5 technology so only a web browser was required for the operation. Málaga-based Linos Soluciones Informáticas developed the web solutions, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

In addition augmented reality was incorporated as a new development in the videoconference screen, where essential information was displayed throughout the entire operation as it was updated in real time. 

The augmented reality also enabled interaction from Japan and from the same attendees who were able to indicate graphically on the screen the parts through which it was suggested how the surgery should proceed.

A Huawei 5G CPE (Customer Provider Equipment) managed both inbound and outbound communications.