Recently the first laparoscopy surgerical procedure was perfomed twice in Russia with the use of 5g technology. This is a surgery in which a fibre-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall. A cancer tumor was successfully removed with the use of a laparoscope and 4K camera connected to the 5g network. This procedure was accomplished in the Skolkovo Innovation Center, located in the suburbs of Moscow and nicknamed the "Silicon Valley" of Russia with support of the Moscow Department of Information Technologies.

“Skolkovo is one of several 5g pilot zones in the Moscow region. Over the past six months, innovators have demonstrated how fifth generation communication can be used in a variety of services, from road safety to entertainment. Today, Beeline (a Russian telecomications giant) has demonstrated how 5g can benefit the medical field,” said Eduard Lysenko, Head of Moscow Department of Information Technology.

5g is the fifth generation wireless technology for digital cellular networks that began large scale deployment in 2019. As with previous cellular technologies, 5g networks rely on signals carried by radio waves – transmitted between an antenna and your phone. But when fully implemented, 5g is set to offer download speeds many times faster than today’s 4G LTE networks. Russia is uniquely positioned to be a pioneer of 5g capabilities. Currently 89% of the Russia population subscribe to mobile services, making Russia one of the most highly penetrated countries in the world – ahead of both Europe and Northern America. In fact, Russia was one of the first countries in the region to launch 4G in 2012. GSMA Intelligence released an overview in 2018 that stated 5g will develop quickly in Russia, with “more than 80% of the Russian population covered by 2025.”

5g will revolutionize the medical field. It will make procedures like medical diagnosis, mobile surgery, and other real time medical treatments a reality. This will apply to both ‘tele-presence,’ where a surgeon can merely follow an operation on a video connection and offer expert support, and for ‘tele-surgery,’ where the doctor actually operates the surgical device from far away. Before with 4g networks, remote surgery using wireless networks was impossible, because the lag time between input and output lasts around a quarter of a second, sometimes as long as 2 seconds — a delay potentially harmful, possibly fatal, to a patient. Now, 5g promises to change all that, with its latency reduced to an almost instantaneous 2 milliseconds between devices.

It will no longer be necessary to transport a patient to a specific clinic or specialist. Remote consultations will reduce the need for travel, significantly saving both doctor and patient time. This will have a big impact on medical specialists, who spend more than 70% of their time travelling from one location to another for complex operations.

Furthermore, 5g makes for more mobile and comfortable operating theaters, thanks to its ability to connect medical equipment wirelessly.

The other equally valuable benefit of 5g is the increased volume of data that can be processed at great speed during surgery. Doctors will be able to connect many more medical devices together and gain data from the patient, in a way that isn’t possible at the moment. Different medical specialists, in different places, will all be able to work together for the first time.

There are many medical benefits 5g provides for large files. For example, a single patient can generate hundreds of gigabytes of data each day, from patient medical records to the large image files generated by MRI, CAT, or PET scans. A PET scanner alone generates extremely large files — up to 1 gigabyte of information per patient per study. Adding a high-speed 5g network can help quickly and reliably transport huge data files of medical imagery. A 5g network means that these large files can be transmitted quickly between doctors and hospitals, reducing the time that would otherwise be needed to move them across older networks. The reduction in time that 5g brings means more timely diagnostics, second opinions, treatment starts and adjustments, since the medical data can be transmitted and consumed by doctors faster than ever before.

In addition, the risks of 5g are minimal. 5g uses higher frequency waves than earlier mobile networks, allowing devices to have faster speeds. The electromagnetic radiation used by all mobile phone technologies has led some to worry about increased health risks, including developing cancer. In 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that "no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use". But the WHO along with the international agency for research on cancer (iarc) has classified all mobile signals as "possibly carcinogenic".

Moscow’s Department of Information Technologies is a technology pioneer in the field of 5G. This decade, the technology that this department is developing will dramatically improve outcomes in health care in Russia and worldwide.

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This article has been supplied to Total Telecom for publication, it is not written by our editorial team and does not necessarily reflect our views. To have your own viewpoints published in the Knowledge Network email