The first joint meeting of the ESFFU (EAU Section of Female and Functional Urology) and the ESGURS (EAU Section of Genito-Urinary Surgeons took place in Tuebingen, Germany from 6-8 October, 2011. The meeting was chaired by Prof. Karl-Dietrich Sievert, Vice Chairman, of the Urology Department at the University of Tuebingen. This joint meeting was the original vision of John Heesakkers (ESFFU Chair), Serdar Deger (ESGURS Chair) and Karl-Dietrich Sievert to bring together an outstanding science and clinical team.
The symposium was comprised of a thought-provoking and engaging session that went beyond a standard symposium. Prof. Sievert organised a rigorous and diverse clinical and academic programme that included 30 live stream surgeries from three Operating Rooms. The clinical programme focused on peer-review evaluated reconstructive surgery techniques and implants in both male genital urology and uro-gynecology, but also demonstrated state-of-the-art presentations from the world’s leading experts. The academic segment consisted of poster sessions and actual cadaver anatomical demonstrations to enable the participant to better understand and take reconstructive techniques back to their clinics. In addition to chairing this first joint meeting, Prof. Sievert also performed and gave surgeries and lectures.
The congress was designed for urologists and up-and-coming surgeons, who are interested in one of the most stimulating and rapidly changing urological subspecialties. Over the past decades there has been significant progress in our understanding of the anatomy, pathiophysiology and reconstructive techniques that have led to an expansion of new products and an evolution in reconstructive strategies. This subspecialty encompasses an extensive spectrum of more commonly-known reconstructive approaches such as urethral strictures, erectile dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence.
Another emphasis of reconstruction surgery has also been to incorporate the wide range of corrective post-cancer and post-childbirth outcomes that may be required to treat incontinence, as well as preserve kidney transplant function and improve abnormalities developed during the embryonic stage. The evidence for combination drug therapy was considered along with its impact on current treatment guidelines. Future reconstructive aims in re-establishing organ function will be to utilise translational medicine with a tissue engineering/stem cell-based approach.
According to the organisers, “of particular emphasis, is Prof. Sievert’s interest in the support and training of “progressive thinking” and dynamic urologists in a under-represented subspecialty that he believes will epitomise an essential cornerstone of how we treat patients in the future.” This meeting incorporated anatomical structure and functioning where the experts could deliver a unique insight while providing tips, tricks and pitfalls of each surgery. All of this was structued to develop a highly interactive forum to discuss cutting-edge practices and science in this strongly emerging field.
Both the ESFFU and the ESGURS also conducted their separate sessions where they discussed specific interests, such as addressing future interactions and collaborations with sister organizations, which was represented by Victor Nitti (SUFU chair) as well as the INCOMB group with Clare Fowler, Martin Michel and Francisco Cruz. Richard Santucci (GURS-USA) was also on hand to perform a live surgery. Prof. Sievert was also extremely grateful of the support from colleagues and friends from the two societies in making this meeting a success. This first joint congress attracted over 180 participants, from as far away as Hong Kong, was informative and interactive. He believes it is very important to engage in future efforts to attract and motivate even more young urologists to this dynamic and translational field with the opportunities provided by the European Urology Scholarship Programme.
The poster session proved to be of very high quality, with most of the presentations bringing new insights and new potential to the field of reconstructive and female urology. The presenter of the best poster – Alexei Plekhanov from St. Petersburg (RU)- was invited to join the unique 4th ESU Masterclass on Female and functional reconstructive urology which will take place in Berlin on 11-13 November 2011.
Further, Prof. Sievert was pleased with the contribution and organising efforts from the EAU staff. The positive feedback from the meeting was overwhelming, further demonstrating the interest and demand for advanced knowledge. In advance at their board meeting, the ESFFU has approved their biannual 2013 meeting in Tuebingen, which will address the next generation of urologists and uro-gynecologists and look into the future.
The organisers would like to extend their gratitude to Allergan, AMI, American Medical Systems, ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH, Farco-Pharma, Fresenius Kabi, Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon), Karl Storz GmbH & Co.KG, Medtronic, Oceana Therapeutics Limited, Pohl Boskamp, Porgès – a Coloplast division and Promedon. Their unrestricted educational grant made it possible to bring the top-quality information to the delegates and to do it by means of the most progressive technology in scientific event organisation.