1st European laryngological live surgery broadcast from Poznań

Words: Piotr Pawałowski, PSNC

Left: Operating room equipped with the medVC system at the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery of Poznan University of Medical Sciences | Right: Moderators in the PlatonTV studio at PSNC


The 1st European Live Surgery Broadcast (http://els.livesurgery.net/), an interactive videoconferencing session presenting otolaryngological surgery, took place on December 2nd 2015. The event was organised by the European Laryngological Society (ELS), the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery of Poznan University of Medical Sciences (PUMS) and Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC). The aim of the session was to demonstrate the newest surgical methods utilised by specialists from leading European laryngology clinics. Hospitals from Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Leiden, Essen, Luxembourg and Poznan took part in the event.

The team of doctors from PUMS and the staff from PSNC, who had cooperated in numerous telemedical undertakings, prepared this all-day educative session under the auspices of ELS. The central point of the broadcast, both from the medical as well as the technical point of view, was located in the PlatonTV (http://tv.pionier.net.pl/) TV studio at PSNC. Professor Frederik Dikkers (University of Groningen), Professor Manuel Bernal Sprekelsen (University of Barcelona), Professor Jens Klussmann (University of Giessen) and Professor Witold Szyfter (Poznań University of Medical Science) were moderating the session from the studio.

The extraordinary element of the session was that surgeons from participating hospitals performed multiple otolaryngological interventions in parallel, allowing the moderators to dynamically switch between the operating theatres. This permitted to show the highlights of each procedure and maintain high educational value throughout the whole 6 hours of the broadcast. The surgeons from the clinics stayed in contact throughout the whole session and were able to exchange remarks and pass on their knowledge. At the end of the broadcast, a discussion was conducted between all surgeons and moderators concerning surgical methods and difficult cases.

In order to augment the educational effect, the whole session was also streamed live through the Internet in HD quality using PlatonTV, the Interactive Scientific TV Platform operated by PSNC. Over 1000 participants from all around the world have watched the broadcast. Over 226GB of video data was streamed. The recording of the session is available at http://tv.pionier.net.pl/play?id=5629

The hospitals and the studio at PSNC were interconnected through medVC (http://medvc.eu), a remote medical collaboration platform providing the possibility to perform multipoint audiovideo communication in realtime. medVC allows to carry out multistream high definition (HD) video transmissions using video from surgical cameras, microscopes, endoscopes, surgical robots and other medical imaging devices. During this broadcast, video from medical equipment of such manufacturers as Storz, Olympus, Medrobotics, Trumpf Medical and ConMed was used.

The Multi-Point Control Unit (MCU) enabling multi-point connectivity was deployed at PSNC’s data center in Poznań. medVC's MCU is a packet reflector providing all participants of the videoconferencing session with video streams in the same quality as they are being transmitted from their sources, with no need for recoding. This ensures maximum quality of the image, which is very important for medical education, however requires more bandwidth. During the session 9 sites (10 medVC terminals, as two have been used in the studio in Poznań) have been connected sending a HD video stream of 5Mbps each. The MCU was receiving 50Mbps of incoming traffic and sending out 450Mbps of video streams.

​About PSNC

​PSNC is the operator of the PIONIER network (Polish Optical Internet), a nationwide broadband optical network for e-science and is the Polish NREN. PIONIER connects all Polish scientific institutions, including all clinical hospitals, with its over 7000 km wide network built on own fibres. PIONIER is directly connected to the GÉANT network, which made it possible to seamlessly perform the live surgery session.

About medVC

medVC is a cutting edge remote medical collaboration platform enabling realtime communication between operating rooms, conference rooms and doctors' offices. Apart from multistream HD video transmissions, medVC offers numerous tools facilitating remote collaboration of doctors, like pausing the video stream, marking areas of the picture, saving snapshots of the image to a medical repository, and remote control of computers running medical software (e.g. DICOM browsers). medVC is compatible with stereoscopic video streams coming from surgical robots or 3D endoscopes that are just entering the market.


This article appeared in CONNECT Issue #21, March 2016.