In the first example of intercontinental surgery, surgeons Jacques Marescaux and Michel Gagner from the Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York performed a gallbladder operation on a patient in France by remote control, it was announced at a press conference yesterday (19 September 2001). Code-named Operation Lindbergh, after the pilot of the first solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, the procedure is the first complete operation to be performed by telesurgery.

The team used 'virtual scalpels' linked to a computer in New York to control the movements of a robot called Zeus in the operating theatre of Strasbourg Civil Hospital, 4,300 miles, away to remove the gallbladder of Madeleine Schall.

Electronic commands and video footage were sent down a fibre-optic network, which crossed the Atlantic in about 155 milliseconds, to replicate precisely the hand movements of Jacques Marescaux and Michel Gagner, who were working at a computer console in.


Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?