ESUT20 Chairman Prof. Jens-Uwe Stolzenburg looked back on a busy but rewarding two days as Leipzig, the Kongresshalle and his department hosted the 7th Meeting of the EAU Section of Uro-Technology. Prof. Stolzenburg praised the cooperation between the ESUT organisers and his department at the University of Leipzig.
Day 2 of ESUT20 continued in the vein of the first day, a full day of live cases from Leipzig University Hospital and from across the world.
Preparing the department
“The meeting went fantastically,” Stolzenburg began. “First of all it was a very good cooperation between ESUT and our hospital. We know ESUT and Prof. Liatsikos very well, so with close communication it was very easy and straightforward to create a programme that our department could realise. We restructured our hospital’s units for this event. We were also pleased that the various companies and surgeons were happy to oblige, because we wanted to offer a variety of equipment for demonstrations at ESUT20.”
“Secondly: we’re experienced in Leipzig. In 2018 we hosted the Challenges in Laparoscopy & Robotics meeting in the same venue. It is most suited to events like this, which require a large and dark single room for the transmissions, with smaller rooms for meetings and exhibitions. All this together is key to success.”
In terms of restructuring: this was the result of the ESUT20 scientific programme that calls for near-continuous live surgery in the hosting department to be displayed on two screens, and the third screen reserved for long-distance streaming and pre-recorded cases. Stolzenburg:
“Normally we have three ORs assigned to urology, now we needed five. The gynaecologists were kind enough to lend us their capacity for the two days. We were able to offer three ORs for endourology, and two for laparoscopy and robotic surgery. So not only my own department was involved, but we had the support of the entire hospital. Many people told me how pleased they were with the meeting and naturally that makes me proud.”
“Live is live”
ESUT20 was a unique meeting in that it focused almost entirely on live surgery. The meeting was held in one room, with three screens and headsets that allowed participants to follow the moderated procedure of their choice. What can surgeons learn from watching other surgeons in this setting, as opposed to attending master classes or hands-on training?
Stolzenburg: “I’ve been doing live surgery for about fifteen years and I’m a big supporter of its educational value. Even an experienced surgeon can learn from other surgeons. In the end, the quality of surgery improves, and so does the patient outcome. The EAU has set high standards for live surgery, including a patient advocate, pre-surgery meetings and all sorts of safety measures. Over the years we have not seen a higher than average complication rate for patients treated in a live surgery setting.”
“Finally, I feel there is also a clear difference between live surgery and pre-recorded cases. Sure, pre-record (“semi-live”) recordings are a valuable part of the meeting. They allow a case to be condensed, and you can see a greater variety of procedures and approaches. But live is live. You see things you don’t see in semi-live. You can observe a surgeon dealing with unexpected developments as they crop up.”
“There is also the opportunity to interact with the surgeon. Moderators can ask a surgeon to explain certain choices or to demonstrate a specific approach. They also pass on audience questions. In pre-recorded cases, the surgery simply proceeds with no interaction or chance to pause the procedure for an interaction. Also, the surgeon will come to the venue after the procedure, giving an opportunity for further discussion. In fact, many people use these events to network, to meet top surgeons and invite them to their centres for training purposes.”
Prof. Stolzenburg himself was one of the surgeons on the first day of ESUT20, performing a robotic partial nephrectomy. When asked what he had hoped to teach the audience with this procedure, he explained that kidney surgery is particularly suited for demonstrative purposes.
“Kidney surgery is completely different from prostate surgery. Every procedure is unique. You can have a small tumour in the middle of the kidney which is more difficult than a large one on the side. This is extremely individual. But even so you need standardized techniques. I’m a fighter for standardization, both in steps and in techniques.”
“The EAU and its sections ESUT and ERUS have important roles to play in standardizing these procedures. Many leading surgeons are of course famous because of their excellent technique but it’s also a technique that has become or should become standardised. I want the audience of a live surgery meeting to see surgeons follow the standardized steps, and I hope that the audience picks this up and takes it with them to their own centres.