This grape new Internet meme has gone viral. David Hughes (@david8hughes), who is neither a grape nor a surgeon as far as I can tell, tried to summarize this meme by Tweeting: “THREAD: There’s been a lot of talk about the grape they did surgery on and I just want to clear a few things up for those of you who might be a bit confused about all this.” And then proceeded to provide the details:
Yes, they did. The origin of the meme is the following video from 8 years ago showing surgeons using a da Vinci Surgical System to, you guessed it, do surgery on a grape:
It wasn’t clear if the grape really needed surgery. Rather the grape may have been an example of something rather small, delicate, and slippery on which to demonstrate the performance of this robotic surgery system. After all, “they did surgery on a watermelon” may not have been as effective to demonstrate the same degree of precision. Also, they probably wanted to use something that was more expendable (sorry grapes), less gory, and with fewer privacy concerns than a human patient or an orange.
A sequel to the 2010 video emerged 4 years later in 2014, presumably starring a different grape. As with the first video, this second video didn’t seem to draw that much attention from the Interwebs. Then in May of this year, a Tweet from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center in May of this year stated along with pictures: “BEHIND THE SCENES. Here’s some pictures from today’s shoot with Peter Mac’s Director of Robotic Surgery @declangmurphy showing @ScopeTV11 how our da Vinci Xi robot works, performing precision surgery on a grape. #roboticsurgery #robot #davinciXi.”