Telemedicine in surgery, or ‘telesurgery’, has been defined as: ‘Surgery, procedure or technique performed on an inanimate trainer, animate model, or patient in which the surgeon is not at the immediate site of the model or patient being operated on. Visualization and manipulation of the tissues and equipment is performed using electronic devices. ‘Telesurgery’ is an umbrella term covering educational and professional assessment techniques, surgical discussion among remote participants, and surgery using telemanipulation (the expansion of a person’s movements to a remote location) and telepresence (telemanipulation with added sensory information to make the operator feel that they are physically present at the remote site). Besides telesurgery the other applications of telemedicine in surgery is in the same line as in any other medical disciplines such as teleconsultation, telefollow up, distance education, and teleconference.


Applications of Telemedicine in Surgery
Various applications of telemedicine technology in surgical practice can be grouped into following categories.


1). Tele-surgery
  • Tele-presence Surgery
  • Tele-robotics
  • Tele-mentoring / Tele-proctoring
2). Tele healthcare for surgical patients
  • Tele-consultation
  • Pre referral screening
  • Tele follow up
  • Remote treatment planning
3). Distant surgical education
  • Teleconferencing of surgical conferences, CMEs and Workshops
  • Web casting
  • Surgical education portals
  • Interactive virtual class room
Tele-surgery (remote surgery)

Surgery, procedure or intervention performed on an inanimate trainer, animate model, or patient, in which the surgeon or operator is not at the immediate site of the model or patient being operated upon. Direct real-time visualization and manipulation of the tissues and equipment is performed using tele-electronic devices.

It may be categorized as follows:

  • Tele-presence surgery: Uses a computerized interface to transmit the surgeon’s actions at a surgical workstation to the operative site at the remote surgical unit, with haptic (forced feedback) input to transmit to the surgeon the tactile environment of the operative field.

  • Tele-robotics: Remote control with a robotic arm, usually in conjunction with a laparoscope, without haptic feedback.

  • Tele-mentoring: An experienced surgeon acts as a preceptor for a remote inexperienced surgeon by observing the surgeon via interactive video.

  • Tele-proctoring is an extension of telementoring, referring to documentation of performance for privileging purposes.



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