White paper: technology for surgical telementoring—SAGES Project 6 Technology Working Group

  • Etai M. BogenEmail author
  • Christopher M. Schlachta
  • Todd Ponsky
SAGES/EAES Official Publication



Recent advances in telecommunication technology and video conferencing systems have opened a new avenue for surgical instruction called “surgical telementoring.” This report from the Technology Working Group of the SAGES Project 6 Summit reviews the telementoring technology that currently exists and proposes recommendations for minimum technology requirements and future technology development. While also providing insight in regulatory considerations, this review offers what prospective surgical telementoring participants need to know about the underlying technology with a specific focus on safety, reliability, transmission quality, ease of use, and cost.


Content experts from around the world, in minimally invasive surgery, surgical mentoring and telementoring, surgical education, business development, healthcare innovation, and regulation were invited to attend a 2-day summit in Los Angeles, USA to outline the current state of surgical telementoring and chart the challenges and opportunities going forward. This article summarizes the discussion, conclusions, and recommendation of the technology group with regard to telementoring technology.


This article reviews the technical requirements which can be divided into the following categories: (1) safety, (2) reliability, (3) transmission quality, (4) ease of use, and (5) cost.


Telementoring applications are technology driven. Given the pace of change of technology, guiding principles in technology design and selection are warranted (Table 4). Telementoring technologies require two basic components, video capturing and display devices at the transmitting and receiving end, and a telecommunication link between them. Many additional features can be added to this basic setup including multiple cameras or video sources, remote camera zoom and pan, recording and storage of videos and images, and telestration capabilities to mention just a few. In general, the cost of these technologies is feature driven. The education framework for each specific application should determine the need for these features (Schlachta in Surg Endosc


Telementoring Mentoring Technology Minimally invasive surgery Laparoscopy 


Compliance with ethical standards


Dr. Ponsky reports personal fees from Conmed, other from GlobalCastMD, outside the submitted work. Dr. Bogen, Dr. Schlachta have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical MedicineFaculty of Health Sciences - University of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine and DentistryWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.Division of Pediatric SurgeryAkron Children’s Hospital AkronAkronUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pediatric SurgeryCincinnati Children’s HospitalCincinnatiUSA

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