Ethical aspects involving the use of information technology in new surgical aplications: telesurgery and surgical telementoring


  • Fernando Fuertes-Guiró Universitat Internacional de Catalunya
  • Eduardo Viteri Velasco Quirón Salud University Hospitals


Background: The surgical telementoring is a technology that involves surgical procedures guided by an expert or mentor, performed by other surgeons from a distance, using information and knowledge technologies. This therapeutic innovation has generated new opportunities to improve the surgical attention and the training of the surgeons. However, their ethical implications should be analyzed to clarify their use, to check the patient's safety and eliminate uncertainties. The characteristics of surgical telementoring generate specific challenges and ethical dilemmas that must be identified, analyzed and solved. Results: In this paper the ethical challenges and dilemmas of surgical telementoring identified and analyzed cover multiple aspects such as patient safety, privacy and vulnerability, the surgeon-mentor-patient relationship and informed consent, professional responsibility, cost-effectiveness analysis and Solidarity and social justice regarding the use of healthcare resources, the systematic approach to validation of the proposed new technology and conflicts of interest. For many of these issues solutions are provided, but they are still to be solved. Conclusions: surgical telementoring potentially improves patient healing and surgeon education. It will have a rapid evolution in the next years. This rapid growth should not be anticipated to the solid implantation of ethical guarantees for its use due to the particular characteristics that this technology has in the field of telemedicine.


surgical telementoring, telesurgery, ethical analysis

Author Biography

Fernando Fuertes-Guiró, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona. Spain. Department of Surgery, Quirón Salud University Hospitals, Barcelona, Spain