Wireless live streaming video of laparoscopic surgery: A bandwidth analysis for handheld computers

Alex Gandsas, Katherine McIntire, Ivan M. George, Wayne Witzke, James D. Hoskins, Adrian Park

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Over the last six years, streaming media has emerged as a powerful tool for delivering multimedia content over networks. Concurrently, wireless technology has evolved, freeing users from desktop boundaries and wired infrastructures. At the University of Kentucky Medical Center, we have integrated these technologies to develop a system that can wirelessly transmit live surgery from the operating room to a handheld computer. This study establishes the feasibility of using our system to view surgeries and describes the effect of bandwidth on image quality. A live laparoscopic ventral hernia repair was transmitted to a single handheld computer using five encoding speeds at a constant frame rate, and the quality of the resulting streaming images was evaluated. No video images were rendered when video data were encoded at 28.8 kilobytes per second (Kbps), the slowest encoding bitrate studied. The highest quality images were rendered at encoding speeds greater than or equal to 150 Kbps. Of note, a 15 second transmission delay was experienced using all four encoding schemes that rendered video images. We believe that the wireless transmission of streaming video to handheld computers has tremendous potential to enhance surgical education. For medical students and residents, the ability to view live surgeries, lectures, courses and seminars on handheld computers means a larger number of learning opportunities. In addition, we envision that wireless enabled devices may be used to telemonitor surgical procedures. However, bandwidth availability and streaming delay are major issues that must be addressed before wireless telementoring becomes a reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedicine Meets Virtual Reality 02/10 - Digital Upgrades
Subtitle of host publicationApplying Moore's Law to Health
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)1586032038, 9781586032036
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes
Event10th Annual Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conference, MMVR 2002 - Newport Beach, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 23 2002Jan 26 2002

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


Other10th Annual Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conference, MMVR 2002
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNewport Beach, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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