New trends, learning tools at Education & Innovation

09 February 2012

To offer congress participants and delegates a comprehensive overview of the newest learning tools in urology, the EAU’s Education and Innovation module has lined up some of the latest innovations in training and technology developed by various research groups and specialised companies.

One of the well-attended sections during the five-day annual congress, Education and Innovation has selected six participants to offer a preview of their newly developed learning programmes. Among the new participants this year are iURO and the Heilbronn University team led by Dr. Oliver Kalthoff, with both groups presenting their digital-based technologies.

From 3D animation to computer-aided simulation techniques designed specifically for doctors and urological specialists, below is a list of the six participants with a short description of the educational learning tools and activities they have developed:

German Cancer Research Center

During the EAU congress in Vienna last year, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) attracted enthusiastic visitors with its pioneering research projects. The largest German biomedical research institute in Germany, the DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers.

This year the DKFZ will present its initial experience of an iPad-assisted percutaneous access to the kidney using marker-based navigation. Based on algorithms developed for inside-out tracking via the laparoscope (endoscopic tracking), the DKFZ team modified this marker-based tracking technique for percutaneous access to the kidney using an iPad.

In percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), adequate access to the collecting system is the most crucial factor for success, a goal which prompted DKFZ researchers to conduct a clinical trial. During the exhibit, DKFZ representatives will be on hand to discuss their findings and recommendations of this innovative procedure.

iURO
The Spanish-based developer of iURO joins Education and Innovation for the first time by introducing the iURO, a digital programme with 3D animations of urological procedures and the human anatomy. iURO offers an application that can be downloaded to mobile tools such as an iPhone or iPad.

Users of iURO can show their patients detailed graphics of the prostate or the kidney to explain the progression of a disease or how a surgical or therapeutic procedure will be carried out. There are also interactive tools such as an interface simulation, which shows patients the approximate location of a diseased organ. “Our objective is to enhance communication, based on facilitating understanding between doctor, patient and medical students in all areas related to urology,” iURO said.

Heilbronn University
Prof. Dr. Oliver Kalthoff of Heilbronn University (DE) and his team have developed a prostate capsule model to achieve spatial visualisation of prostate biopsy cores. “There is still a lack of adequate spatial visualisation of prostate biopsy cores, and thus of cancer foci detected within the gland,” said Kalthoff.
Kalthoff’s team developed an individual capsule model to locate biopsy cores within the prostatic volume and used ultrasound volume datasets of a prostate biopsy performed with a General Electric Voluson 730 scanner in life mode. The researchers said the approach is applicable to transrectal as well as perineal biopsy protocols.

Simbionix
Simbionix provides comprehensive educational solutions for urology surgeons including: Laparoscopy skills and suturing training followed by full procedures practice on the LAP Mentor; Endourology training including essential skills, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on the URO Mentor; TURP basic skills and procedures on the VirtaMed HystSim/TURPSim platform; Pelvic floor repair, including anatomical recognition and mesh placement on the PELVIC Mentor. Hands-on training is enhanced by using a variety of didactic educational aids including step-by-step instructions, 3D anatomical maps, real-life and expert performance videos, followed by state-of-the-art simulation of complete procedures.

Mimic Technologies
Mimic Technologies is a pioneer and leader in robotic surgery simulation. Founded in 2001, Mimic combines virtual reality and surgical robotics to create revolutionary products and unique services. In 2007 Mimic unveiled the dV-Trainer™, the first simulator to recreate the look and feel of the da Vinci® Surgery System.

In 2011 Intuitive Surgical introduced the da Vinci Skill Simulator, a virtual reality simulator for the da Vinci Si System, developed jointly by Mimic Technologies and Intuitive, and based on Mimic’s simulation technology. The Seattle-based group continues to develop next generation learning tools and curricula that will advance robotic surgery training and improve patient safety.

Epona Medical
Epona Medical provides training and simulation for all minimal invasive disciplines. Epona is developing a software based on the exercises used in the European Training in Basic Laparoscopic Urological Skills (E-BLUS). E-BLUS is a joint training programme by the European School of Urology (ESU), the EAU Section of Urotechnology (ESUT) and Catharina Hospital Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

E-BLUS offers training residents and urologists who want to master the basic skills in laparoscopy required for the OR. The training comprises two levels (Novice I and Novice II). Exams in the Novice I level provide exercises to train basic laparoscopic skills. The tasks are validated in the “Basic Laparoscopic Urological Skills (BLUS)” training model, which is initially developed as a box-training.

Training participants gain laparoscopic dexterity, improved hand-eye coordination and learn basic laparoscopic urological skills. Each task trains another specific basic laparoscopic skill and has its own clinical application.

Find out more about E-BLUS.

This article will appear in the first edition of European Urology Today Congress News