JANUARY 2--On December 14, 2001, approximately 400 surgeons attending the third Annual International Workshop on Advanced Digestive Oncology in Rome, Italy, were present for the first use of the SOCRATES Robotic Telecollaboration System in conjunction with a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical revision using the ZEUS Robotic Surgical System from Computer Motion Inc. (Santa Barbara, CA; www.ComputerMotion.com). Dr. Cristiano G. S. Huscher, chief of surgery at Ospedialiera Complesso San Giovanni-Addolorate in Rome, Italy, performed the procedure while telecollaborating with Dr. Alberto Montori, chairman and professor of surgery at the University of Rome "La Sapienza." The case was completed successfully and the patient was recovering without complications.
The SOCRATES system allows a surgeon located at a remote site to interact with another surgeon located in an operating room down the hall, across the country, or on the other side of the world. With SOCRATES, the remote surgeon is able to converse with the operative surgeon as well as view video images generated by a number of devices at the operative site such as an overhead camera or an endoscope.
In Italy, the system was used to transmit endoscopic and external video images from the operating room to an auditorium at the hospital where the symposium attendees watched the procedure. During the operation, Dr. Montori provided video annotation of the surgical image and moderated discussion among the audience members.