Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Telemedicine link with South Pole allows remote knee surgery

18.07.2002


In a groundbreaking telemedicine development, doctors in Massachusetts earlier this month helped a physician at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to surgically repair the damaged knee of a meteorologist spending the winter in Antarctica. Using a "telemedicine" connection operated by Raytheon Polar Services Co. (RPSC) of Centennial, Colo., orthopedic surgeon Bertram Zarins and anesthesiologist Vicki Modest, both of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, helped South Pole physician Dr. Timothy Pollard to suture a damaged tendon in the left knee of RPSC employee Dar Gibson in a two-hour operation July 5 (EDT). Gibson injured his knee in a fall.

RPSC is the National Science Foundation’s logistical support contractor in Antarctica.

The U.S. Antarctic Program has used two-way voice and video links between the U.S. and Antarctica to assist in medical procedures, but this is the first time in the program’s nearly 50-year history that telemedicine has been used for surgery. Doctors are assigned to all three U.S.-operated, year-round stations in Antarctica but the medical facilities there are not designed for surgery.

The operation’s success marks a milestone in efforts to use telecommunications to improve the medical services available to those who must spend the long austral winter at one of the world’s most remote scientific stations. "The health and safety of our people comes first and I’m grateful that the skills of all concerned could be combined so effectively with 21st century technology to meet this challenge," said Karl Erb, who heads NSF’s Office of Polar Programs. "Our thoughts are with the patient. We wish him a speedy and complete recovery."

NSF, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, conducts leading-edge research at the pole in a variety of disciplines and is rebuilding the only scientific station there. Because of its location high on the Polar Plateau and at the Earth’s axis, Amundsen-Scott is a world-class astrophysical observatory. It also has some of the world’s cleanest air, making it a natural laboratory for studying environmental chemistry.

The 51 people spending the austral winter (February through November) at the station are unable to leave because extreme cold and darkness prevents aircraft landings. NSF officials judged an evacuation of Gibson as too risky to aircrews. Instead, a panel of physicians in the U.S. explored a variety of options for treating the injury using digital x-rays sent via the telemedicine link and a live video transmission of Gibson’s knee examination.

After consulting with Drs. Zarins and Modest as well as other nationally recognized medical experts from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Johns Hopkins University, and other institutions and with RPSC officials, Gibson received a range of treatment options. He agreed to the surgery judged to be the best option for restoring the maximum mobility to the damaged knee.

Dr. Pollard carried out the operation at approximately 9 p.m. (EDT) July 5, with the help of physician assistant Tom Barale (who monitored the anesthesia) and other station personnel. Gibson is recovering and has begun physical therapy.

Peter West | EurekAlert

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>