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Sovato achieves milestone with remote robotic-assisted procedures over 500 miles

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | June 28, 2024
Operating Room
Sovato, a Santa Barbara, California-based company specializing in remote surgery, successfully completed a large number of remote robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) procedures during preclinical tests involving seven surgeons performing nephrectomy, hysterectomy, colectomy, and cholecystectomy procedures on porcine models between Lincoln, Nebraska, and Chicago, Illinois.

The results, presented at the Society of Robotic Surgery 2024 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, demonstrate high confidence in remote procedures. Using the NASA Task Load Index for self-assessment, surgeons reported effective communication with the bedside assistant and comparable situational awareness to in-person surgery.

"I could not tell the difference between doing surgery in my operating room or in an operating room that was 500 miles away," said Dr. Francesco Bianco, associate professor of surgery at the University of Illinois, Chicago. "The experience was seamless. There was no detectable delay. Everything looked like a normal day in my operating room."

The Sovato Platform, a comprehensive solution for enabling remote RAS, facilitated the procedures. It integrates healthcare providers and RAS systems, providing the necessary fiberoptic network, clinical workflows, and infrastructure to support safe and scalable remote surgery programs.

In these preclinical tests, the Sovato Platform was paired with Virtual Incision's MIRA Surgical System, a miniaturized RAS device. This setup enabled low-latency, fiber-optic connectivity and immersive communication between surgeons and the remote care team.

"Remote surgery offers the ability for surgeons and healthcare teams to care for patients who may not have access to minimally invasive surgery in many parts of the world," said Dr. Marty Martino, medical director of Gynecologic Oncology and Robotic Surgery at Ascension St. Vincent's. "Performing a remote surgery more than 500 miles away and feeling like you're right there in person with the patient and care team is history in the making."

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