Live surgery first: New focus for 19th ERUS meeting in robotic capital of Europe

Live surgery first: New focus for 19th ERUS meeting in robotic capital of Europe

“This is not one man’s ambitions for his surgical centre, this is six centres from across the city working together, and that’s why we call it ‘Barcelona Robotika’” ERUS Chairman Dr. Alberto Breda explained.

The ambitions for the 19th meeting of the EAU Robotic Urology Section are sizeable: the meeting features live cases from six different local centres, with 38 surgical cases presented on 16 different systems over the course of two and a half days. ERUS22 promises to be THE live surgical event of the year.

We spoke to ERUS Chairman Dr. Alberto Breda, who is also for all intents and purposes the local organiser in his hometown.

Focus on Surgery

“The ERUS Section meeting is moving towards an almost completely live surgery meeting. In my opinion this is the most interesting aspect of robotic urology, particularly as we now have a greater diversity in robotic platforms available. A lesson we have learnt from the past is that there should be one big meeting, the Annual Congress, with lots of scientific content. But then section meetings, and particularly the technical sections like ERUS, ESUT and EULIS (who worked together for UROtech22), is where people are coming to see novelties, and new technology.”

“Six major hospitals in Barcelona are providing their ORs for ERUS22, retransmitting to the auditorium on a tight schedule. This will be a tremendous challenge for us and our technical partners, but I’m confident we’ll make it happen.”

“Live surgeries will be performed on fourteen Intuitive systems and two by Medtronic, all within the same city. We will be showing procedures from beginning to end, not just checking in with the surgeon for 20 minutes. As surgeons, we can learn from positioning of the trocars, how complications are managed, how surgeries are wrapped up, all of this is very important.”

Diversity in surgical platforms

“This year’s meeting is a paradigm shift. For the first time at a surgical meeting we will be seeing live demonstrations of the Medtronic system. Of course the majority of cases will be performed on Intuitive systems, including the new single-port systems, but we hope that eight cases, almost a quarter, will be performed on the Medtronic system, and perhaps even with the Medicaroid and Avatera systems. We cannot immediately offer similar numbers of cases on all systems because they have only been recently introduced but that’s where we’re headed as a meeting.”

“In the coming years, we will also have to rely on live surgery being transmitted long-distance because it will remain rare for a while for a single city to have so many different systems available. That’s also an exciting part of organizing meetings like this; a constantly evolving learning process of how to meet expectations of delegates and at the same time how to incorporate new technology in a meeting. Technology beyond robotic surgery of course. We will see demonstrations of augmented reality and artificial intelligence during the meeting, with at least two companies showing applications of AR.”

Beyond oncology

“We received a lot of feedback from previous ERUS meetings. Of course positive, but also some criticism that we take to heart. Some delegates felt that the surgical demonstrations had too much emphasis on oncology-related cases: prostatectomies, partial nephrectomies, lymphadenectomies and so on. We also want to show how robotic surgery can be used in the non-oncological cases that our delegates might come across.”

“The programme now features more reconstructive surgery, reimplantations, paediatric cases, and sacrocolpopexy, all performed robotically. Diversity in programme is very important. People will be exposed to robotic urology in its widest sense and I think that will be appreciated.”

Expert speakers

“As I said, I think EAU Section meetings like ERUS should focus on surgery and practical cases. Our programme will certainly feature science and state of the art lectures, but these will be very specific talks on certain topics but only from the most experienced key opinion leaders. For instance, we will have a talk on robotic radical prostatectomy given by Prof. Vip Patel, who’s performed thousands of cases. People will be interested to hear from him. We will have similar talks on other subjects but only super expert speakers with a real talent for communication.”

“While certainly interesting and important, we won’t be featuring systematic reviews or literature reviews in the main programme. Instead, we have an abstract session and the Junior ERUS-YAU meeting where our younger colleagues can find a platform for research and an educational atmosphere.”

Barcelona at it best

“It’s certainly ambitious, a meeting with six centres working together, but we want to demonstrate Barcelona at its best. In my experience, teamwork always pays off. It’s not Alberto Breda performing HIS meeting at HIS centre, we’ve seen this format several times. Now it’s ‘the Barcelona team’, like the football club, everyone from across the world working together.”

“People will get to know Barcelona as a robotic city. How unique is it to have 16 robotic systems in a  single city? Counting private hospitals we have around 20 in total. For a country where robotic surgery is not reimbursed, there was huge belief and investment in robotic surgery in Barcelona, which really means something.”

  • ERUS22 will be a regular, in-person event with no “online-only” registration options. The abstract submission deadline is 1 August, 2022. The discounted late fee is available until 22 September.