Robotic Urology in Bilbao: An interview with the local organisers

Robotic Urology in Bilbao: An interview with the local organisers

Robotic surgery is a growing area within urology, and the popularity of the EAU Robotic Urology Section’s annual meetings are a clear reflection of this. We spoke to the meeting’s local organising committee members, Dr. Ander Astobieta Odriozola (Bilbao, ES) and Dr. José Gregorio Pereira Arias (Bilbao, ES), Head of Urology at Galdakao Hospital.

Live Surgery

A popular, and indeed major part of the ERUS scientific programme is the live surgery component. Procedures are to be shared between The private IMQ Zorrotzaurre Clinic and Cruces University Hospital. Astobieta: “Each hospital will perform half of the surgeries to be done during the meeting. We will see radical prostatectomies, with some different modifications, radical cystectomies and the derivations, and a Focal HIFU for localized prostate cancer treatment.”

Pereira: “It’s promising to be a very interesting showcase with world robotic surgeons experts in Robotic radical prostatectomy in complex cases, partial robotic nephrectomies with Firefly system, Robotic radical cystectomy, robotic sacrocolpopexy, and special indications. If feasible, this will mark the first time a robotic kidney transplantation will be demonstrated through live surgery.” The meeting is set to receive EAU approval for live surgery, guaranteeing highest standards of patient safety.

Young Urologists

Recent research shows that robotic skills are more easily mastered by urologists under forty. The Junior ERUS – Young Academic Urologists meeting, part of ERUS15 highlights their needs. Pereira: “Beginners are interested in how to deal with complications, tips and tricks in complex robotic surgery, how to standardize robotic procedures, and learning curves.”

“The Junior ERUS meeting is a vital part of ERUS schedule and of paramount interest. Junior robotic surgeons have their chance to communicate their experience and even create a contact net between them to warrant future cooperation. So robotic surgery is not only here to stay, but it will be developed by this young generation.”

Robotic Urology in Spain

Pereira: “Robotic surgery in Spain started in July 2005. We’ve been following the lead of the Puigvert Foundation in Barcelona and cooperating with different groups along the country in their beginning. Since then, around 30 Da Vinci Systems have been installed in our country, and robotic surgery interest is increasing in recent years. We have organized local meetings of robotic surgery in our institution, and nowadays we have six Da Vinci systems for two and a half million inhabitants in Basque country. So we felt it was the right moment for the ERUS meeting to come to Spain.”

“Even taking into account the limited financial resources, particularly in the Public Health System, robotic urology surgery in Spain is here to stay. We can observe multiple publications about robotics in our Spanish Urology Association annual congress and through arranging the ERUS meeting in Bilbao we hope to create a starting point for Spanish urologists to participate with and lead in the EAU Robotic Urology Section.”


Pereira: “When we’ve accomplished our scientific goals with the ERUS meeting, I invite everyone to enjoy our hospitality, gastronomy and architecture. You’ll find that Bilbao’s blending of classical and modern is what makes so special, from the Casco Viejo (old quarter) to Bilbao’s crown jewel: the Guggenheim Museum.”

“Don’t miss Bilbao´s gastronomy! The Basque Cuisine is one of the most highly rated in Spain, with more than 20 Michelin stars distributed among several restaurants, including 4 with 3 stars. This is just a selection of everything you can learn, see and do during this year’s ERUS so book your place now! We’ll be waiting for you in Bilbao, eskerrik asko!”