An Italian surgeon has successfully performed remote surgery on a cadaver 15 kilometres away.

The achievement has been hailed as a successful demonstration of the powers of modern health technology.

The low latency and high bandwidth of a 5G system allowed the surgeon to operate as if he were in the operating room with the patient.

This was the first public demonstration of remote surgery over 5G. A brief research report is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The authors from Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, Italy presented a feasibility demonstration where robotic telemicrosurgery was performed on a cadaver patient’s vocal cords with both sides of the system on wireless 5G networks.

According to the authors, this demonstration showed the feasibility of remote surgery both in everyday and in emergency situations, such as those involving temporary field hospitals and the need for physical distancing between surgeons and patients (e.g. during COVID-19 pandemic, or after natural disasters).

This type of surgery has the potential for large-scale adoption, revolutionising healthcare and surgical treatments around the globe, the authors say.