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French Surgeons Take Off for First 'Gravity-free' Surgery

A team of French surgeons took off on a specially equipped aircraft early Wednesday from Merignac Airport in Bordeaux to attempt the first-ever operation // carried out in weightless conditions, the Bordeaux University Hospital Centre (CHU) said.

The Airbus A300 is equipped with a special surgical module, which could serve as a prototype for equipment used in future surgery carried out in the gravity-free conditions of outer space.

The surgery will be to remove a small fatty tumor from the forearm of the volunteer patient, 46-year-old Philippe Sanchot.

"The operation carries no risk to the patient, but aims to demonstrate the use of new surgical techniques and anesthetics in weightless conditions," the CHU said in a press statement. "Beyond that, it will be integrated in a project of tele-surgery, the applications of which on Earth could be fundamental."

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