Telecom Italia enabled remote surgery over a 5G connection in Italy, allowing the medical procedure to be assisted by a professor located more than 100 kilometres away from the operating theatre through a 4K live-stream, which was also delivered to in excess of 30,000 surgeons around the world.

During the operation, Rome-based professor Giorgio Palazzini interacted with a medical team performing a laparoscopic procedure in a hospital in the city of Terni, using a VR headset.

The operator explained Palazzini participated “first-hand” in the surgery, observing the patient’s biometrics in real time using a trio of cameras broadcasting simultaneously from the operating theatre.

Palazzini was also able to “zoom in and select important details”, Telecom Italia stated, adding the low latency over 5G had enabled high-quality video communication with 4K resolution.

Elisabetta Romano, chief innovation and partnership officer at Telecom Italia, said the operator’s 5G Digital Business Platform, combined with robotics, AI and the Internet of Medical Things, are “opening up some exciting but challenging scenarios”.

She added the company aimed to “extend the cutting-edge knowledge and techniques available in this area to as many people as possible”.

Healthcare is one of the major verticals highlighted by operators as an advanced 5G use case. The potential was demonstrated at MWC19 Barcelona in Feburary, with tele-mentored surgery showcased over the next-generation technology connecting the Fira Gran Via and Hospital Clinic de Barcelona.

Earlier this month, BT conducted a demonstration involving 5G, VR and AR technology to connect an ambulance to a local hospital, highlighting potential in delivering remote diagnosis.