The 5th Meeting of the EAU Section of Uro-Technology (ESUT16) started characteristically: with a three-hour live surgery session. ESUT Chairman and local organiser Prof. Evangelos Litsiakos welcomed the audience to Athens on Friday morning, starting three days of the latest in urological technology, live surgery, training and a large technological exhibition.
The largest part of the scientific programme of ESUT16 (July 8-10) is built on live surgery, as broadcast from the Lefkos Stavros Medical Center in Athens, or on pre-recorded and narrated by the experts. Asst. Prof. Stavros Gravas co-chaired “Live Surgery I”, and reflected on the morning’s packed session.
“It went very well, it was an interesting session and well-attended,” Prof. Gravas began. “The audience asked some interesting questions. We saw a lot of new procedures, and some old ones.” The session focused on prostate enucleation, specifically transurethrally. Procedures were broadcast from three operating theatres, simultaneously. The audience was treated to a bipolar prostate enucleation, plasma prostate enucleation and HoLEP, as well as an assortment of pre-recorded procedures.
“We saw some new minimally-invasive techniques, like the i-TIND stent and aquablation. Aquablation is a very new technique with only one study so far, published in the British Journal of Urology International. The results are promising, as they often are, but the main issue with BPH treatment is the durability of the result. We have to wait to see long-term data emerge before we can really draw conclusions about its potential.”
When asked if aquablation had the potential to replace conventional techniques, Gravas pointed out the advantage of having several techniques at one’s disposal. “It is very important to have the right treatment for the right patient. It’s always nice to have a broad and strong armamentarium, but it’s premature to say if one technique can replace another. As urologists we have a duty to wait and see.”
As well as the aforementioned live procedures, several speakers presented their own pre-recorded cases. Gravas: “It’s good to see surgeons in action without any pre-edited videos. But the advantage of pre-recorded videos is that it allows the presenter to focus on key points of the procedure, and it is less stressful for the surgeons. There is always enough time to discuss with them.”
“When the procedure is performed live, you can see difficulties a surgeon can face, but sometimes it takes a long time to see the whole procedure. So in a programme like this, it’s important to have a balance between the two.”
Asst. Prof. Thomas Herrmann participated in both the live part of the programme, while also rounding off with a pre-recorded case. Gravas: “He showed us two different procedures, both with excellent results. Naturally questions arose over which procedure to select, but it clearly depends on available resources and skills.”
In accordance with the EAU Policy on Live Surgery, three patient advocates were on hand to make sure that the live broadcasting did not interfere with patient care. “This is very important, and the safety of patients is our major interest. The advocates did not have to step in today, as the procedures went smoothly. I believe the audience, the surgeons, and tomorrow the patients, will be very pleased with the result of the procedures.”