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“The future of surgery is not about blood and guts, it is bytes and bits”

Led by Prof. Andrea Minervini (IT) as Chair, the European Urology session “Surgery-in-Motion: Technical innovations in the evolving world of robotic surgery” commenced with the presentation, “New kids on the block” by Dr. Ruben De Groote (BE).

“The future of surgery is not about blood and guts, it is bytes and bits,” stated Dr. De Groote quoting Dr. Richard Satava, Professor Emeritus of Surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center. Dr. De Groote enumerated novel equipment, accessories, and platforms in robotic surgery. He briefly discussed the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in automatically detecting and then generating mathematical models of robotic surgery movements of surgeons. Surgeons can then analyse which aspects they can improve (e.g. efficiency), and compare these with other surgeons.

Dr. De Groote also mentioned a four-armed robot for urology, gynaecology, and general surgery designed based on the anatomy of the human arm.

A scene from Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” introduced the next presentation, “Confocal microscope” by Dr. Stefano Puliatti (IT). He compared the frantic White Rabbit saying “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” to urologists wanting things to happen in real time and promptly. He explained, “Time is of the essence [when treating patients]. Saving time can also contribute to their quality of life.”

According to Dr. Puliatti, a confocal laser microscope can help urologists as the machine is easy to use and the technique is reliable and reproducible. The images generated by the microscope can be generated quickly and relayed in real-time to any part of the world. In addition, tissue integrity is preserved, making further histopathologic investigation possible using the same sample.

Dr. Puliatti added that there is an excellent level of agreement between fluorescence confocal microscopy (FCM) evaluation and the gold standard histopathological diagnosis of prostate biopsies. Smoother FCM procedures make for improved uropathological team efficiency.

In his lecture “3D-imaging and augmented reality”, Prof. Francesco Porpiglia (IT) concluded that 3D models and augmented reality (AR) allow us to perform precision surgery procedures. These technologies improve the functional results and reduce the complications, without compromising the oncological outcomes. We are entering a new era for urological surgery: the era of 3D-AR RAPN (robotic-assisted partial nephrectomy) and RARP (robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy).

(Re)watch the full presentations and the rest of the lectures via EAU22 On Demand on the Virtual Platform.