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Live Surgery: A look behind the scenes (Part 1)

Live surgery is a special part of the EAU’s Annual Congress. It represents the peak of technical know-how and innovation and it has great educational value for the visiting urologists.

We spoke to three key parties that are working together to make the live surgery in Barcelona reach new heights. In this first part, we hear from Chairman of the EAU Section of Uro-Technology (ESUT) and session chairman Prof. Evangelos Liatsikos (Patras, GR), and on-site organiser at the Fundacio Puigvert Department of Urology Dr. Alberto Breda (Barcelona, ES).

Preparing the scientific programme

“All congress participants love to see great surgeons at work in a live setting, showcasing the latest technological advances,” Prof. Liatsikos explains. “ESUT has always done its best to create a full day of very interesting surgeries and is doing the same for EAU19 in Barcelona.”

As it currently stands, the live surgery will mainly take place during the joint Section Meeting of the EAU Sections of Uro-Technology, Urolithiasis (EULIS) and Robotic Urology (ERUS) on Saturday, March 16th. The programme will last more than eight hours and is broken into four parts. Sixteen different procedures are expected to be broadcast live from the Fundacio Puigvert in Barcelona, performed by surgeons from all over Europe. Innovative live surgery is interspersed with pre-recorded cases, allowing for a seamless experience for the audience.

Liatsikos: “As every year, we aim to present the latest technology, surgical techniques, and the most experienced surgeons operating. We want to show the audience a range different companies and equipment, and a range of innovations in software, hardware and instruments.”

“This year, we anticipate a lot of new technology companies to want to showcase their products in Barcelona. We want to facilitate this so that the participants can draw their own conclusions on these new technologies.”

The European Section of Uro-Technology has always been at the forefront of organising the Live Surgery day during every year’s EAU Congress: “All of the ESUT board members are actively participating either as moderators, chairman or surgeons in order to accommodate as many surgeries and as many new technologies as possible in these hours of transmission.”

Prof. Liatsikos is convinced in the continued educational value of live surgery: “Urologists love live surgery and typically want to see as much of it as possible. This is because they really want to see how an experienced surgeon deals with problems and conventional cases in real life. Edited case presentation videos are interesting but still, people are really keen to see live scenarios.”

“In the future, live surgery will continue to be a part of the Annual Congress and other EAU surgical meetings. What we may start to do is transmitting some of the live cases from the operating surgeon’s own familiar operating theatre, with his or her own team. This is one of the projects that ESUT is going to establish and develop in the near future.”

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A suitable hospital

While surgeons might come from across Europe or in some cases from all around the world to operate during the EAU Annual Congress, patients are almost always treated in their local centre. In Barcelona, all live surgery will be broadcast from the Fundacio Puigvert Department of Urology (led by ESU Chairman Prof. Joan Palou). Dr. Alberto Breda is the on-site organiser for the live surgery during EAU19.

Centres that host live surgery for EAU events have to follow the strict protocols of the EAU Policy Statement on Live Surgery Events. The 16-page document covers the responsibilities of the local organisers, the selection process for surgeons and patients, and pre- and post-operative care. It includes a procedure checklist, and requires that all details are passed on to the EAU for approval before official endorsement. A form for patient consent is also included.

Every year, the current status of the previous year’s live surgery patients is reported on at the beginning of the live surgery session. In Barcelona, delegates will be updated on the recovery and possible complications that the patients who were treated in Copenhagen had following their procedures.

The Fundacio Puigvert is an experienced live surgery centre. Dr. Breda: “Generally speaking, live surgery does have an impact on the regular running of a hospital. It becomes more challenging since there are many external people around, and a lot of new materials and instruments to deal with. However, we are very used to live surgeries since we organize over 30 courses each year and we are therefore very well adaptable to these kinds of situations.”

In the next part, we speak to Mr. Wim Samyn (Melle, BE), Commercial Director of mediAVentures, the technology company in charge of the live surgery logistics on behalf of the EAU. Stay tuned!