McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster's leadership in telerobotics receives $2 million boost from Ontario

Published: May 11, 2007
Dr. Mehran Anvari
Dr. Mehran Anvari, a professor of surgery at McMaster and director of the CMAS and the McMaster Institute of Surgical Invention.

McMaster’s Centre for Minimal Access Surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare is getting a $2 million boost from the Ontario government to advance the field of telerobotic surgery.

"By providing more support for researchers, we are investing in one of Ontario’s greatest assets - the skills and knowledge of our dynamic academic community," said Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot, in making the announcement today on behalf of Premier and Minister of Research and Innovation Dalton McGuinty. "Our government is doing its part to invest in local research excellence to make Hamilton – and Ontario – an innovative economic power."

The $2 million investment will be used by Dr. Mehran Anvari, a professor of surgery at McMaster, and his team at the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS). Anvari is director of the CMAS and the McMaster Institute of Surgical Invention, Innovation and Education.

"This investment will allow us to extend Canada’s and Ontario’s leadership in the field of robotics," said Anvari. "It is through this funding that we can continue to develop innovative surgical technologies which are instrumental in improving the quality of health care and improving access to patients in rural parts of this country."

Anvari is renowned for his achievements in telerobotic surgery, which allows surgeons to direct and assist in procedures that are taking place in operating rooms in rural or remote regions of the country. Telerobotic surgery involves the use of sophisticated, three-arm robots to seamlessly and directly translate the surgeon’s natural hand, wrist and finger movements into corresponding micro-movements of instrument tips positioned inside the patient.

"This is a very important initiative by Dr. Anvari which will advance the capabilities and use of telerobotics in surgical procedures," said Dr. William Orovan, chair of the department of surgery at McMaster University. "It has great scientific and commercial potential, and we at McMaster University appreciate that the Government of Ontario has provided the funding to allow this initiative to move forward."

The CMAS is one of Canada's most technically advanced telesurgery centres. The multi-disciplinary centre develops, evaluates and provides training in new techniques in minimally invasive surgery and diagnostics. It was the first centre in the world to utilize robots for surgery.

Telerobotic surgery increases the accessibility of minimal access surgical intervention to remote communities, when a specialized surgeon is not available. Recent advances in technology make it possible for a surgeon to provide complete laparoscopic surgical intervention from a distance of more than 1,000 kilometres. To date, the centre has performed 22 telerobotics surgical procedures.

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