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Live Surgery: A look behind the scenes (Part 2)

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 Part 1, we heard 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). Now we hear from Mr. Wim Samyn (Melle, BE), Commercial Director of mediAVentures, the technology company in charge of the live surgery logistics on behalf of the EAU.

Aside from the visiting surgeons (who sometimes also bring their assistants or nurses), other “external people” who will be present in the Fundacio Puigvert and indeed in the EAU19 venue are the technicians of mediAVentures.

The Belgian multimedia production company is a long-time partner of the EAU, supporting the Annual Congress’s live surgery since 2010 and all of the audiovisuals of the eURO Auditorium since 2012. The eURO Auditorium is designed with a capacity of 2000 people. Since EAU18 earlier this year, mediAVentures has also started to support the secondary plenary room. The rooms are designed and decorated by mediAVentures from scratch.

“Year after year we strive to do better,” says Wim Samyn, the company’s Commercial Director. “We improve and upgrade the quality and experience for a more impactful learning experience.”

“Typically, in the main eURO Auditorium we build three big seamless screens which allow both 3D and/or 2D HD/4K multi-Picture in Picture projection. The largest of the screens is the size of a swimming pool. We can manage the showcasing of up to seven operating theatres from multiple hospital locations.”

Pieter Trinconi, Sr. Technical Manager and Transmission Specialist adds: “Live surgery over internet is possible for sure, we use it a lot with our 1Gbps backbone access in our head office. On the other hand, public internet doesn’t guarantee a continuous and stable data flow due to hospital firewalls, shared connections, re-routing etc. For the bandwidths we need at these meetings with ever-improving video quality (resolution, contrast, colour range etc.), one would need some luck for a flawless transmission going over internet.”

“Knowing the transmission cost only went down over the years and is now less than 5% of the total production, we simply choose the best solution for every temporary peer to peer connection, whether it’s satellite, internet, microwave, fibre or a combination of these to create a redundant system with back-up.”

Broadcasting and projecting in 3D requires specific knowledge about convergence to create razor-sharp and natural-looking content. A technical evolution, such as the introduction of an ultra-high definition video standard (4K) immediately has a knock-on effect on the entire production.

Samyn: “Adapting the workflow to 4K quality also means other signal convertors, video mixers, encoders and decoders. It impacts the complete technical chain.” mediAVentures will bring a 35-person crew of cameramen, audio engineers, video and uplink/downlink engineers and four trucks with equipment to make all of this possible.

Samyn: “The Annual EAU Congress is one of our most important projects and one that we are extremely proud of.” mediAVentures is specialised in medical congresses and supports high-end conferences, especially when they feature live surgery transmissions.

“We lead the market with more than 200 filming and live case transmission days every year, at more than fifty events. Every year, we broadcast more than 500 hours of live transmissions. We have become a home supplier for many international organisations in the cardiovascular, urological, orthopaedic and other medical disciplines. Our two largest projects are the annual support for the annual European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and Leipzig Interventional Course (LINC) meetings.