Flashback: congress visitors express enthusiasm for new training methods

11 May 2011

The EAU Education and Innovation booth organised by the European School of Urology (ESU) attracted a steady stream of visitors during the 26th Annual EAU Congress in Vienna with exhibit participants expressing enthusiasm over the interest shown by many visitors regarding the newest educational and surgical training methods that were on display.

“It was very interesting to discuss with the visitors their needs in terms of education… many were interested to get access to any form of education such as asynchronous learning (including virtual or video simulators),” said Dr. Aurel Messas, chairman of the Urology Department at the Max Fourestier Hospital, Nanterre (FR). Messas participated in the exhibit by introducing a virtual laparoscopy programme, which can be found at www.onlinemasterclass.com.

“Aside from the strong interest regarding problem-based learning delivered in our online masterclass, we also got feedback from both visitors and our contacts. People inquired about research collaboration, trends in education and this kind of interaction is certainly important for us,” according to Messas who added that visitor numbers were higher than he expected.

ESU Chairman Prof. Hein Van Poppel noted that aside from the interest in new techniques and learning tools, the exhibit offers the chance to examine these tools and directly get in touch with the developers themselves.

“Minimally invasive surgery is constantly evolving, as is the way in which we train the younger generations in these techniques. Education & Innovation, organised by the ESU and ESUT, offers the delegates of the Annual EAU Congress an update on the latest developments in training and technology in the form of a hands-on experience,” Van Poppel said.

“Now in its third year, we see that more and more people come to visit Education & Innovation, and that they are really enjoying learning about these developments and trying out the equipment,” he added.

Dan Allen, vice president for Marketing and Product Development of the Oregon-based ETHOS Surgical, noted the effective collaboration with Viking Systems (for its 3D system) and Terumo for their laparoscopic devices to create the new hybrid Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) concept that visitors saw during the exhibit. The concept involves multiple ergonomic adjustments in the surgeon’s platform, port placements, and a new visualisation system (High-definition 3D), among others.

“Having Viking and Terumo as innovation partners was a great idea. The collaborative concept was of great interest to many of the surgeons who experienced the ETHOS platform,” said Allen. He added the ETHOS stand had many visitors who requested for further information regarding its MIS concept.

“The (Vienna) meeting was very good for us on several levels,” said Allen. “Regarding traffic, we got what we felt was reasonably good traffic” Cleveland, Ohio-based Simbionix also displayed innovative virtual reality simulation products and presented to exhibit visitors its range of solutions for clinical education and training of medical professionals. With three simulators exhibited in the Simbionix booth, the company provided more than 150 demonstrations during the three-day exhibit.

Simbionix project manager Maya Bloch said there were keen inquiries on the MIS procedures and the URO Mentor, which Simbionix says is the only simulator for endourology procedures. Also participating in the Education & Innovation exhibit were Mimic (Seattle, USA), Karl Storz and the German Cancer Research Center and Epona Medical.

Mimic exhibited its tension-based force feedback devices and real-time Finite Element modelling capabilities, demonstrating the company’s edge in developing advanced haptic applications and accurate simulation of soft tissue. Mimic also provided their simulator for the first hands-on training in Robotics.

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum or DKFZ), highlighted its services and the role it plays in biomedical research work such as investigations on cancer mechanisms and risk factors. At the congress an augmented reality system was presented by the DKFZ providing visitors a hint of future capabilities in the field of augmented reality as used by surgeons. Karl Storz, on the other hand, provided the latest updates on the company’s modern high-technology medical systems, briefing visitors on its capabilities in optics, mechanics and surgical-related electronics.