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UPDATED: 14:38, June 25, 2004
Robot-conducted medical operation in Shenzhen
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A medical operation was done by a computer-controlled robot Monday in Shenzhen, a special economic zone in south China's Guangdong Province.

The operation was done at the Shenzhen People's Hospital to remove the gallbladder from a 32-year-old female patient.

The operation, which usually takes 15 minutes under a robot arm,took 40 minutes because of prudence of the doctor who controled it from a distance.

Last year, the hospital imported a medical robot system dubbed Zeus from the United States at a cost of 1.5 million US dollars, according to Dr. Zhou Hanxin, president of the hospital.

Prior to the operation, the hospital had done several animal operations with the system.

"To use robots to do surgical operations has obvious advantages over those done by humans, who will have tiny hand shakes due to breathing during the operations," Zhou said.

"Besides the high accuracy, a robot arm will easily reach areas where human arms can not," Zhou added.

The success of the robot-conducted operation will, in theory at least, make it feasible for American doctors to directly control a robot arm in China through submarine optical fiber cables, according to Zhou.

In 2001, the maiden cross-ocean remote-controlled robot operation was done between the United States and France.

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