Telepresence surgery system enhances medical student surgery training

Stud Health Technol Inform. 1999:62:174-8.


The telepresence surgery system (TeSS) permits the surgeon to operate on a patient across distances. This is achieved through real-time 3D video vision, stereo audio, and remote instrument control with haptic feedback. Telepresence surgery has been proposed to be useful in providing specialist operative consultation to remote areas. Remotely mentoring medical students with no surgical experience through complex procedures provides an even greater challenge. Third-year medical students with no prior operative experience were mentored exclusively through use of TeSS during a standard surgical skills lab. This two-day laboratory includes abdominal procedures and thoracic procedures. The medical students were alone in the operating room and the teaching surgeon was in an entirely separate room. Anatomy, surgical principles, and adjunct techniques were taught to the students. The students felt the experience was better than standard because of the enhanced learning secondary to the required verbal accuracy in describing the procedures. In addition, they felt they had better visibility since the instructor was not standing in the way. The telepresence surgery system can be successfully used to remotely mentor and enhance introductory surgical training for inexperienced medical students.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Swine
  • Telemedicine*
  • User-Computer Interface*