In a darkened lecture theatre deep in the bowels of Ballarat Base Hospital, surgeons from all over Australia were watching surgery happening just next door.
Ballarat surgeon Dr Carolyn Vasey was calmly narrating each move to the enraptured audience and answering their questions, all while expertly stapling a patient's bowel.
"It allows a much broader audience than the usual one or two people to see what we do in theatre," she told The Courier earlier this week. "I suppose it relates nicely to the word theatre - which I think originated from medieval times, when operations were considered some kind of theatrical moment."
The live-streamed surgery was part of the Provincial Surgeons Australia conference, which started in Ballarat on Friday.
Around 150 surgeons and young doctors from as far afield as Darwin and New Zealand will be creating connections with other regional doctors and improving their craft during the three-day event.
Eminent colorectal surgeon Dr John Lumley said livestreams like the ones hosted in Ballarat have "revolutionised surgery", because a better understanding of good surgical technique leads to be patient outcomes.
"Everyone can see what the surgeon sees," he said. "This is invaluable. They're not seeing edited highlights, they're seeing it warts and all, and that's real surgery."
Many attendees are from small regional hospitals, and are often required to complete any necessary surgery, particularly for patients who want care near home.
(The conference) is almost a peer review, they can say, 'Maybe, what we're doing isn't good enough anymore, what can we do to improve it?'Surgeon Dr John Lumley
Dr Lumley said sometimes it wasn't appropriate to transfer patients 200km to the nearest regional centre, so improving surgeon skill across the board was vital.
"It's not just about the surgeons though, it's about the team. Unless you have the right nursing staff, the right anaesthetists and the right equipment, you can't get good outcomes."
He said surgeons can be encouraged to stay in regional areas if they have strong allied health teams around them providing excellent care, as well as mentors they can call for advice.
Gosford registrar Dr Siobhan Clayton has been determined to return to her regional roots as a surgeon. She said the conference inspires her each year to change her practise, and see how surgery works in different regional areas.
"I did a lot of training through regional medical hubs, and I met some absolutely amazing people ... they inspired me to look outside big city centres," she said.