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Aussie to webcast rare surgery

Medical pioneer Andrew Renaut will once again broadcast live, unedited footage of a rare surgical procedure over the internet to medical students and professionals.
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Written by Luke Hopewell, Journalist on

Medical pioneer and self-professed evangelist professor Andrew Renaut will once again broadcast live, unedited footage of a rare surgical procedure over the internet to medical students and professionals. Renaut, however, is being cautious not to turn his educational webcast into a reality show.

Andrew Renaut

Andrew Renaut performing surgery in 2010.
(Credit: Andrew Renaut)

Renaut has been broadcasting his surgeries for the past five years, with the last procedure aired in 2010. The professor is now gearing up for another webcast on Thursday that will see an unedited laparotomy, colectomy, ileorectal anastomosis and repair of ventral hernia broadcasted online with the support of the Australian Institute of Medical Education.

The patient, who suffers from bowel cancer, has given full consent to the webcast, which will take place on Thursday from a Brisbane private hospital.

The operation will go for up to four hours, and is designed to give professionals and students access to rare surgical procedures that they would otherwise not be able to see. Renaut said, however, that this free webcast is more than just blood sport; it's purely for education.

"I accept it isn't the same as being present during an operation, but this gives unprecedented access to many who would never otherwise have an opportunity to see unusual operations. I need to emphasise immediately that viewing live surgery is not reality TV — so I'm not advocating something that is for public consumption."

Renaut spoke to ZDNet Australia in 2010, expressing his frustration over the lack of fast internet in Australia, and welcoming solutions from either political party on how to fix the nation's broadband.

Renaut has also been hard at work on his educational network for medical students, which he has previously labelled as an on-demand medical channel. Through his company Videosurgery, students can access a range of recorded surgical procedures and educational presentations.

Renaut is still urging his colleagues to join in and broadcast surgeries online to improve the quality of medical education. Renaut's efforts are now attracting international attention, with the video-surgery methods garnering the interest of Chinese and Scandinavian practitioners.

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