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Bell Canada Network Assists With Telerobotics Surgery
Mar 2003
HAMILTON, Ontario, March 5 -- What's claimed to be the first hospital-to-hospital telerobotics-assisted operation -- performed Feb. 28 by Mehran Anvari from St. Joseph's Healthcare, in Hamilton, Ontario, on a patient in North Bay, Ontario -- was transmitted via Bell Canada's national IP backbone.

Anvari assisted Craig McKinley, a North Bay-based surgeon, in performing laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication (acid reflux) surgery over a distance of about 250 miles. The operation took place over Bell Canada's commercial networking service known as VPNe, or virtual private network enterprise, which uses Cisco multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technology to enable private IP networks (or VPNs) to be carved out of Bell's national IP backbone infrastructure.

"The telerobotics assisted surgery initiated by St. Joseph's Healthcare opens new frontiers in the delivery of healthcare service to rural or remote parts of Canada, and effectively expands access to important medical resources, regardless of geography," said Charles Salameh, a vice president at Bell Canada.

Bell, working with Cisco, conducted extensive testing to deliver the stability, reliability and quality of service demanded by a telerobotics-assisted surgery application under various network conditions. Using 10-12 megabits per second (Mbps) of bandwidth, Bell worked to ensure that any manipulation of the remote robotic "hand" corresponded with a virtually simultaneous movement of the surgeon's hand controlling the robot.

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