Archive for category: BJUI Blog

#RudeFood: Foodporn for a purpose

The Internet is full of weird and wonderful things. Of course, we all know what is most frequently viewed and shared online. That’s right – food! Nonetheless, when celebrity chef Manu Fieldel posted a photo of his latest creation, it certainly made people look long and hard!

Soon it became clear that this naughty creation had a noble purpose – supporting a campaign to raise awareness of the so-called #BelowTheBelt cancers. While most people may have heard of prostate and bladder cancers, being relatively common, other #BelowTheBelt cancers such as penile and testicular cancers are rarer and relatively unknown. To make matters worse, these cancers affect men either exclusively or predominantly – and we all know how reluctant men can be to go to the doctors.

Hence, the #RudeFood campaign was developed by the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate (ANZUP) Cancer Trials Group. ANZUP is the peak co-operative trials group for #BelowTheBelt cancers in Australia and New Zealand. ANZUP has and continues to develop and run many significant clinical trials, including the Enzamet and Enzarad trials for prostate cancer, the Phase III accelerated BEP trial for germ-cell tumours, the sequential BCG-mitomycin trial for bladder cancer and the Eversun and Unison trials in kidney cancer.

The week started with things heating up at ANZUP as they brought #RudeFood to the unsuspecting world!

Manu’s phallic creation was also matched by Ainsley Harriot, Sonia Meffadi and Monty Kulodrovic.

To counterpoint the raunch, there were also poignant personal connections from Simon Leong and Scott Gooding who both described family members who had suffered from prostate cancer.

Over the week, #RudeFood has certainly drawn some attention, including from media outlets such as Mamamia, and GOAT. 

A poetic contribution on #RudeFood caught the eye of @UroPoet across the seas. Let us hope this campaign will also lead to greater awareness of #BelowTheBelt cancers and improved outcomes for those affected by them.

Shomik Sengupta is Professor of Surgery at the EHCS of Monash University and visiting urologist & Uro-Oncology lead at Eastern Health. Shomik has particular interests in prostate cancer, including open and robotic prostatectomy, as well as bladder cancer, including cystectomy with neobladder diversion. Shomik is the current leader of the UroOncology SAG within USANZ, and the past chair of Victorian urology training.  Shomik is a Board member and scientific advisory member of the ANZUP Cancer trials group and is heavily involved in numerous clinical trials in GU oncology.

Twitter: @shomik_s 

#UroPoet – restoring our humanity with creative writing and poetry

The global urology community on Twitter

— Todd M. Morgan, MD (@wandering_gu) February 9, 2019

Over the past several years, many urologists have gravitated to Twitter. Through Twitter we have shared information and experience, created relationships, and built community. Twitter has brought us together in many ways never thought possible before. Some great examples include #UroSoMe, #prostateJC#CUAJC, and the grandfather of them all, #urojc.

Behind the screens

Behind our screens, however, many of us face significant challenges, both professional and personal. Urologists around the world find themselves spending more and more time typing on their keyboards and less and less time in face-to-face conversation with patients.

Growing rates of burnout in urology are being reported in the United States. There is also a burgeoning trend toward consolidation, mergers, and loss of autonomy in healthcare. When you add in the current global political and cultural turmoil, even Twitter starts to lose its luster and become divisive.


The power of creative writing and poetry

Recently, at the invitation of my friend Pam Ressler, I had the opportunity to participate in a January haiku challenge. To be honest, I was really busy in January, and initially, wasn’t all that excited about it.

However, I quickly began to realize that the discipline of writing a daily haiku made me feel better. Over the course of that month, I developed a new sense of gratitude. By spending just a few minutes, here and there, thinking about the next poem I might write, the recurrent annoyances of each day became fewer and smaller.

Humankind has a rich history of storytelling with prose. Poems about ‘pee’ were written long before urology, as exemplified in Dr. Johan Mattelaer’s wonderful book, “For this Relief, Much Thanks!”

Restoring our humanity

In the spirit of friendship, I invite you to join me in celebrating life, and our noble profession of urology, with the power of creative writing and poetry on Twitter at #UroPoet. My hope is that everyone will feel welcome to use this hashtag, responsibly, and to share the things they love most about our profession, our patients, our families, and life itself through the use of creative writing and poetry.

— Dr. Brian Stork (@StorkBrian) February 3, 2019

In the short time the hashtag has been active, topics ranging from research to prolapse have been posted in the form of limericks, essays, song lyrics, poems and haiku. I hope you will take a moment to at least follow along and consider making a regular or one-time post of your own – adding the hashtag #UroPoet.

I’ll be posting regularly from a second Twitter account @UroPoet where I will also be retweeting #UroPoet tweets. If the spirit moves you, you can also follow me @StorkBrian.

The beginning of #UroSoMe

I had been using Twitter for a while but I never experienced the true power of this social media platform. It was a cold call from @VerranDeborah and @juliomayol when I started to notice the hashtag #SoMe4Surgery. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the active engagement of the #SoMe4Surgery participants. After participating in a #SoMe4Surgery live conversation event on #surgicalinfection, I finally realized the potential impact of a simple hashtag.

While I was amazed by how #SoMe4Surgery brought the surgical community together, many of the topics being discussed were not entirely relevant or specific to a urologist per se. I felt the need of a hashtag specific to Urology, and I quickly started to conceptualize and plan ahead in building up the #UroSoMe community. The #UroSoMe twitter account was officially registered in August 2018.

#UroSoMe stands for ‘Urology Social Media’. My initial thought about #UroSoMe was simple. I wanted to develop a hashtag specific to urology. I wanted to increase public awareness about different urological conditions. Most importantly, I wanted to bring the urology community closer together through this social media platform. I believe there is so much for us to learn from each other, and such interactions should never be bounded by physical or geographical restrictions. Coincidentally, I was invited to talk about social media at the 27th Malaysian Urological Conference 2018, and I decided to take this opportunity to introduce #UroSoMe to the urology community.

The initial response from the audience was promising. Even after the meeting, many urologists came to me for in-depth discussions about the opportunities and applications of social media in urology. I felt that #UroSoMe might really work and it was time to gather more people to establish the community. The first invitation sent in on 14 December 2018, which I often regard as the ‘start date’ of the #UroSoMe community.

By inviting and encouraging people around to use a common hashtag, the #UroSoMe community keeps growing. With increasing momentum, the first #LiveCaseDiscussions was planned. It was a pre-planned event for urologists to get ‘online’ and discuss about some posted cases. A polling had been held in advance, and the topic to be discussed was chosen to be ‘Stone’.

The #LiveCaseDiscussions was on air at 4pm (CET) on 5 January 2019. A total of 9 cases had been presented and discussed. Hosting this event was overwhelming with vigorous discussions among the participants. It took approximately 2 hours to ‘complete’ the event, but the conversations went on for the next few days. Special thanks must be given to the most active users. #UroSoMe and the first #LiveCaseDiscussions would never be successful without their tremendous support.

The immediate effect of the #UroSoMe #LiveCaseDiscussions event was overwhelming. This graph represents a network of 515 twitter users whose tweets contained the hashtag #UroSoMe. 6692 mentions, 1044 retweets and 617 replies were recorded within a 10-day period from 27 December 2018 to 6 January 2019. From a social science point of view, this picture represents a ‘tight crowd’, in which discussions are characterized by highly interconnected people with few isolated participants. I guess this is exactly how we feel about the urology community!

Apart from #LiveCaseDiscussions, the #UroSoMe working group is also keen to host events including #LiveForum, #LiveJournalClub and #LiveTeaching. This is only the beginning of #UroSoMe and we believe there is huge potential to be explored. It is only with your support that #UroSoMe can continue to grow. We look forward to meeting you on Twitter and, hopefully, at #EAU19 and #AUA19 as well!

P.S. I must thank @juliomayol for the inspiration of #UroSoMe, @gmacscotland for his teaching on social media analytics, and @marc_smith for his support in NodeXL.

About the author:

Jeremy Teoh (@jteoh_hk) is a Urologist based in Hong Kong, China.

The #UroSoMe working group:

@jteoh_hk, @adelmesbah2, @BelloteMateus, @DocGauhar, @DrTortolero, @D_Castellani, @EdgarLindenMD, @EIvanBravoC, @HegeltS, @JontxuM, @gudaruk, @MarcelaPelayo, @RdonalisioMD, @Urologeman, @wroclawski_uro and @zainaladwin.


Residents’ podcast: Implementation of mpMRI technology for evaluation of PCa in the clinic

Giulia Lane M.D. is a Fellow in Neuro-urology and Pelvic Reconstruction in the Department of Urology at the University of Michigan; Kyle Johnson is a Urology Resident in the same department.

In this podcast they discuss the following BJUI Article of the Month:

Implementation of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging technology for evaluation of patients with suspicion for prostate cancer in the clinical practice setting



To investigate the impact of implementing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasonography fusion technology on biopsy and prostate cancer (PCa) detection rates in men presenting with clinical suspicion for PCa in the clinical practice setting.

Patients and Methods

We performed a review of 1 808 consecutive men referred for elevated prostate‐specific antigen (PSA) level between 2011 and 2014. The study population was divided into two groups based on whether MRI was used as a risk stratification tool. Univariable and multivariable analyses of biopsy rates and overall and clinically significant PCa detection rates between groups were performed.


The MRI and PSA‐only groups consisted of 1 020 and 788 patients, respectively. A total of 465 patients (45.6%) in the MRI group and 442 (56.1%) in the PSA‐only group underwent biopsy, corresponding to an 18.7% decrease in the proportion of patients receiving biopsy in the MRI group (P < 0.001). Overall PCa (56.8% vs 40.7%; P < 0.001) and clinically significant PCa detection (47.3% vs 31.0%; P < 0.001) was significantly higher in the MRI vs the PSA‐only group. In logistic regression analyses, the odds of overall PCa detection (odds ratio [OR] 1.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29–2.35; P < 0.001) and clinically significant PCa detection (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.48–2.80; P < 0.001) were higher in the MRI than in the PSA‐only group after adjusting for clinically relevant PCa variables.


Among men presenting with clinical suspicion for PCa, addition of MRI increases detection of clinically significant cancers while reducing prostate biopsy rates when implemented in a clinical practice setting.

Read the full article

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February 2019 – About the cover


February’s Article of the Month (Implementation of mpMRI technology for evaluation of patients with suspicion for PCa in the clinical practice setting) is from work carried out at Northwell Health in New York, and various other institutions in the USA.

Northwell Health was founded in 1997 and is a not-for-profit healthcare network that includes around 20 hospitals, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/NorthwellThe Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, a Center for Emergency Medical Services and a range of outpatient services.

February’s cover shows Gapstow Bridge in Central Park, Manhattan: this stone version was constructed in 1896 replacing the earlier wooden version. It provides a welcome contrast to the modern skyscrapers which form part of the Manhattan skyline beautifully viewed to the South of the bridge. The bridge has been famously used in many films and TV shows, including Home Alone 2 and Dr Who.


Four Seasons – Winter 2019’s top reviewer

This month, BJUI continues the Four Seasons Peer Reviewer Award recognising the hard work and dedication of our peer reviewers. Each quarter the Editor and Editorial Team select an individual peer reviewer whose reviews over the last 3 months have stood out for their quality and timeliness.

The Winter Crown goes to Dr Makarand Khochikar.

Dr Khochikar is Chief of Uro Oncology dept at Siddhi Vinayak Ganapati Cancer Hospital, Miraj (India) since 1998.

He has won many awards; including, Dr Kirpekar award and Gold Medal for standing first in university in Master of Surgery exam in 1988, Schering Prize and a Gold medal for standing first at University of London in Dip. Urol exam in 1991, Vijayawada Best poster award and Brijkishor Patana best paper award. In 2010 he was awarded the highest honor of urological society of India (West Zone) – The Urology Gold Medal. Recipient of Gold Medal and SLAUS oration by Sri Lanka Urology Association in 2011. In 2012 he was awarded yet another prestigious award – Pinamaneni Oration and Gold medal by USI for his life time work on adrenal tumors mainly pheochromocytoma. He has one of the largest individual series on adrenal tumors in India. He was awarded the best reviewer’s award – special appreciation by Indian Journal of Urology for 2015. He is the recipient of Prof P B Sivaraman oration award from ASU and Prof Roy Chally oration award from UAK in 2018.

Has been invited as a guest speaker for many international meetings (AUA, SIU, EAU, WPCC, WUOF, BAUS , Euroasian Urooncology group) and has published widely.

Dr Khochikar served on editorial board of Indian Journal of Urology (2000-2009) and  Current Urology Reports. He has served as a guest editor of the special issue of IJU on hormone refractory prostate cancer. He is currently consulting editor for BJUI.

He is member of the Board of Directors of SIU since 2016 and has served as President of US-WZ in year 2017-1018.


NICE Stone Guidelines 2019

The NICE (National Institute For Health And Care Excellence) “Renal and ureteric stones: assessment and management” guideline NG118 was published on-line on Tuesday 8th January 2019 and appeared on the BJUI website on Friday 18th January.

NICE guidelines are based on the best available evidence for the treatment of the specific clinical condition evaluated (i.e. from randomised controlled trials) and aim to provide recommendations that will improve the quality of healthcare within the NHS. As such, the need for a particular guideline is determined by NHS England, and NICE commissions the NGC produce it. The renal and ureteric stone guidelines are comprised a series of evidence reports, each based on the PICO system for a systematic review, covering the breadth of stone management in patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic renal or ureteric stones from initial diagnosis and pain management, through the much debated subject of medical expulsive therapy, to a comprehensive assessment of the surgical treatment of stone disease, including pre- and post- treatment stenting. Follow up imaging, dietary intervention and metabolic investigations have also been reviewed and analysed in detail. These reports are summarised in what is referred to as “The NICE Guideline”, and which is published in the BJUI itself in the February issue (Volume 123, Issue 2, February 2019).  The guideline uses the term “offer” to indicate a strong recommendation with the alternative “consider” to indicate a less robust evidence base, with both terms chosen to highlight the need for patient-centred discussion and shared decision making. Indeed, the preface to The Guideline points out the importance of clinical judgment, and that “the individual needs, preferences and values” of patients should be taken into account in decision making, emphasising that “the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual”.

We have written these blogs to highlight the individual reports, which can be downloaded from NICE at, and to stimulate some thoughts and comments about their implications for the management of stone patients in the UK and internationally. 

Daron Smith and Jonathan Glass
Institute of Urology, UCH and Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals
London, January 15th 2019


Daron Smith Commentary

Considering the patient journey to begin with acute ureteric colic, the first recommendation is that a low-dose non-contrast CT should be performed within 24 hours of presentation (unless a child or pregnant) [Evidence Review B, a 73 page document analysing 5224 screened articles, of which 13 were of sufficient quality to be included in the review]. Their pain management should be with NSAIDs as first line pain relief, i.v. paracetamol as second line and opioids as third line, but antispasmodics should not be used [Evidence Review E, a 227 page document for which 1685 articles were screened, of which 38 were of sufficient quality to be included in the review]. Somewhat contentiously for UK practice, given the SUSPEND findings, is that alpha blockers should be considered for patients with distal ureteric stones less than 10 mm [Evidence Review D, a 424 page document for which 1351 articles were screened, of which 71 were of sufficient quality to be included in the review].

As far as stone interventions are concerned, observation was deemed to be reasonable for asymptomatic stones, especially if less than 5mm, that ESWL should be offered for renal stones less than 10mm and PCNL offered for those greater than 20mm with those in between having all options to be considered. Ureteric stones less than 10mm should be offered ESWL (unless unlikely to be cleared within 4 weeks, or contraindicated, or previously failed) whereas ureteric stones larger than 10mm should be offered URS. These conclusions were drawn from 2459 articles of which 66 were of sufficient quality to be included and summarised [Evidence Review F, a 369 page document]. Perhaps the most important aspect for change in practice relate to the use of stents (both before and after treatment) and the timing of definitive intervention (i.e. without a prior temporising JJ stent). Specifically, the guidance recommends patients with uncontrolled pain, or where the stone is deemed unlikely to pass spontaneously, should have definitive treatment within 48 hours [Evidence Review G, a 39 page document based on 3234 screened articles of which 3 were of sufficient quality to be included in the review]. Stents should not be inserted before ESWL for either renal or ureteric stones [Evidence Review H, a78 page document for which 1630 articles were screened, 7 being sufficiently high quality to be included in the review]. Patients who undergo URS for stones less than 20mm should not have a post-operative stent placed as a matter of routine [Evidence Review I, a 107 page document  derived from 1630 screened articles of which 17 were of sufficient quality to be included in the review]. Clearly individual circumstances (ureteric trauma, need for second phase procedure, infection, risk of renal insufficiency) apply to this decision. Given that currently a URS is reimbursed at £2,172, and stent removal as £1,018, perhaps it is time that the treatment episode is remunerated as a combined £3,190, thereby encouraging stent-less procedures instead of stented ones…

Once the treatment is complete, the optimum frequency of follow-up imaging was assessed, comparing monitoring visits less than 6 monthly against 6 monthly and with rapid access/review on request, a strategy that includes no follow up at all for asymptomatic patients [presented in the 29 page Evidence Review J, in which 2385 articles were screened, but none of which were of sufficient quality to be included in the review]. No specific recommendations could therefore be made, other than the need to specifically evaluate the effectiveness of 6 monthly reviews for three years in future research. Of course, if preventative management were more effective, then imaging review would become less important… The guidelines have also reviewed the non-surgical options to avoid stone recurrence [summarised in Evidence Review K – “prevention of recurrence” – a 141 page document in which 3187 articles were screened, of which 19 were of sufficient quality to be included in the review and Evidence Review C, an 81 page document in which 1785 articles were screened, of which 10 were of sufficient quality to be included in the review]. These advised a fluid intake of 2.5 to 3 litres of water per day (with added lemon juice) and that dietary sodium intake should be restricted but calcium intake should not. As far as medical therapy is concerned, potassium citrate and thiazide diuretics should be considered in patients with calcium oxalate stones and hypercalciuria respectively.

In the final aspect of the pathway for stone patients, the clinical and cost effectiveness of metabolic investigations including stone analysis, blood and urine tests (serum calcium and uric acid levels, and urine volume, pH, calcium, oxalate, citrate, sodium, uric acid and cystine) were compared to the outcomes achieved with no metabolic testing following treatment as appropriate for any recurrent stones. Outcomes sought included stone recurrence and need for any intervention, the nature of any metabolic abnormality detected, Quality of life and Adverse events related to the tests or treatment [reported in the 36 page Evidence Review A, in which 933 articles were screened, but which none were of sufficient quality to be reviewed]. A formal research study to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of a full metabolic assessment compared with standard advice alone in people with recurrent calcium oxalate stones was recommended. Following comments in the review process, the guidelines have recommendation that serum calcium should be checked, and biochemical stone analysis considered.

In addition to these individual topic reports, a 49 page evidence review summaries the research methodology and provides an extensive glossary of terms, and a 73 page “Costing analysis of surgical treatments” provides the information regarding the cost effectiveness of the treatments, such as the estimates that 1000 URS procedures and follow up would cost £3,328,895 compared with £961,376 for 1000 ESWL treatments and follow up.

In conclusion, the NICE Guideline Renal and ureteric stones: assessment and management (NG118) is a 33 page summary of over 1700 pages of evidence and analysis. It is therefore an example of where the parts are very much greater than the sum: there is an enormous wealth of high quality data presented in the eleven Evidence Reviews, which are like individual handbooks of contemporary stone management, almost exclusively based on Level 1 Randomised Controlled Trial Evidence. At a time when Brexit dominates national and international news, this is a British Export that we can be proud of.

The real test, of course, will be in the delivery of these ideals, and it is likely that the goal of treating symptomatic patients with ureteric stones within 48 hours will be difficult to achieve. However, the guidance also points out that “local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it”. Along with the GIRFT report, the NICE guidelines are key drivers for change not just in the way that stone patients are managed by their urologist, but in the way that they are treated by the system. Who does not want to be able to treat a patient in pain, with a definitive intervention (be it ESWL or URS) within 48 hours, and without the need for a stent for either the patient or Urologist to worry about. That is the goal that these guidelines have set us; achieving that would be something that Endourologists can be very proud of, and our patients will be extremely grateful for. Are we up for the challenge?

London, January 2019

Jonathan Glass Commentary

The NICE Stone Guidelines – clarification or confusion?

This guideline covers assessing and managing renal and ureteric stones.
It aims
to improve the detection, clearance and prevention of stones, so reducing
pain and
anxiety, and improving quality of  life’.

This is the opening paragraph of the recently produced NICE guidelines on the management of urinary tract stones.  The guidelines have been produced in the context of existing guidelines produced by the European Association of Urology and the American Urological Association pre-existing, and one hoped that these guidelines would add something for the treatment of stone disease in the UK to justify the expenditure spent producing them.  I write these comments in full recognition of the terms of reference to which NICE adheres in producing a set of guidelines.

I, with other members of the committee of the Section of Endourology of BAUS wrote a response to the draft guidelines and we are delighted that the committee has changed some aspects of the published guidelines as a result of our (and other contributions) to the consultation process.  I must record however that what follows is a personal opinion, and not that of the committee.

These guidelines do refer to patients with a single stone.  That of course immediately means that they have limited application to many of our patients who have multiple stones at first presentation.

The draft guidelines, which are in the public domain, stated ‘Do not use opioids’ in the treatment of ureteric colic.  Although this has been changed to ‘Do not offer opioids to adults, children and young people with suspected renal colic unless both NSAIDs and intravenous paracetamol are contraindicated or have not been effective’ this still potentially leaves patient in severe pain for too long.  Our first duty as doctors is to relieve pain.  In my view, as a doctor caring for stone patients but also as an individual who has suffered ureteric colic, if opioids are needed, they should be given in a timely manner.

The recommendations on medical expulsive therapy are unusual at best and arguably a little bizarre and confusing to the British urologist.  There is good evidence from a large UK study – the SUSPEND trial – that alpha blockers have little role to play in improving stone passage.  This is the best level 1 evidence in the use of alpha blockers in stone disease.  The study was sponsored by the NIHR and as such was truly independent, was statistically robust, and randomised.  A representation was made to the guidelines committee by the Aberdeen group that published the study following distribution of the draft guidelines pointing out the robust nature of their study and the less than robust nature of the studies that made up the meta-analysis from which the guideline was derived. I would suggest that this guideline puts British urologists in a situation of huge uncertainty about how we advise our patients in this regard.  Do we tell our patients the best evidence shows one course of action – not to use alpha blockers, but the NICE guidelines suggest another path?  (I am pleased however that the administration of nifedipine, the use of which appeared in the draft guidelines, was removed from the final document).

The recommendation about pre-stenting children with staghorn stones prior to lithotripsy is arguably an historical perspective.  Children with staghorn stones should be considered for primary percutaneous surgery. The recommendation in the guideline possibly reflects review of papers in a field where treatments and approaches to care have changed considerably in the last 10 years.  I recognise that robust level 1A evidence is lacking for these interventions.  It could indeed be argued that a guideline stating ‘consider ESWL, ureteroscopy or PCNL’ for stones 10-20mm and for stones greater than 20mm or staghorn stones is of limited use. Complex patients require bespoke care individualised to the patient in front of the clinician, taking in to account the stone and all other factors with respect to the patient other than the stone.

Suggesting treatment within 48 hours of presentation of patients with ureteric stones including lithotripsy will put urologists under huge pressure.  Patients could hold up these guidelines and demand care.  Treatment within 48 hours is often unnecessary, has huge cost implications, may well be unachievable and could lead to excessive intervention.  To introduce it successfully, given that most stones present to district general hospitals, would suggest that NICE is calling for a lithotripter in every DGH, and in so doing, suggests the death of the mobile lithotripsy service; alternatively it will require the rapid and streamlined transfer of patients to stone centres for intervention.  Either way the cost implications of this are considerable.  I am certainly an advocate for the clinically appropriate timely treatment of stone patients but producing guidelines that are possibly unrealistic and impossible to implement might be considered a missed opportunity.

The recommendation to not offer routine stenting to patients undergoing ureteroscopy is controversial.  As clinicians we understand the symptoms caused by stents.  We also know the risk of sepsis following any stone intervention, the pain from stones obstructing the ureter and the oedema generated by ureteroscopy in the unstented ureter.  Sepsis from urological disease is life threatening. These guidelines allow the legal justification of leaving a ureter unstented post ureteroscopy.  I don’t know and can’t always predict which patients are going to go septic post intervention.  Stents in this scenario save lives but proving that with level 1A evidence is nigh on impossible.  I have concerns that this recommendation is potentially harmful and may be dangerous.  We accept that many patients have interventions and procedures that may appear unnecessary to protect the few where it is life saving.  This is true of nasogastric tubes following major surgery, of patients having a radical prostatectomy, of the placement of the nephrostomy tube following percutaneous surgery.  It is also true of stents after ureteroscopy.

The metabolic considerations are a little odd.  Sending the stone for analysis is only something that should be considered in these guidelines, and yet recommendations are made – based on the stone analysis.  Similarly, there are no recommendations for metabolic testing beyond taking a serum calcium, and yet treatments are recommended for patients with hypocitraturia or hypercalciuria with no suggestion when and in whom these conditions should be sought and diagnosed.

Is this an opportunity lost?  Do these recommendations justify the considerable cost in time and money that NICE has put in?  Are these guidelines potentially harmful – and will they result in the justification of stones not being sent for analysis, the inappropriate use of alpha blockers, obstructed infected kidneys after ureteroscopy and a serum creatinine never being sent.

I have a healthy scepticism for medicine by committee. The MDT discusses treatments for prostate cancer and makes recommendations without the patient being present.  I am not sure this process has relieved me of my scepticism.  ‘This guideline… aims to improve the detection, clearance and prevention of stones, so reducing pain and anxiety, and improving quality of life’.  Read them, and decide for yourselves whether these aims have been met and the expense producing them justified.

London, January 2019



Resident’s podcast: Retzius‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy

Maria Uloko is a Urology Resident at the University of Minnesota Hospital. In this podcast she discusses the following BJUI Article of the Week:

Retzius‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy (RS‐RARP) vs standard RARP: it’s time for critical appraisal

Thomas Stonier*, Nick Simson*, John Davisand Ben Challacombe


*Department of Urology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Urology Centre, Guy s Hospital, London, UK and Department of Urology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA


Read the full article


Since robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) started to be regularly performed in 2001, the procedure has typically followed the original retropubic approach, with incremental technical improvements in an attempt to improve outcomes. These include the running Van‐Velthoven anastomosis, posterior reconstruction or ‘Rocco stitch’, and cold ligation of the Santorini plexus/dorsal vein to maximise urethral length. In 2010, Bocciardi’s team in Milan proposed a novel posterior or ‘Retzius‐sparing’ RARP (RS‐RARP), mirroring the classic open perineal approach. This allows avoidance of supporting structures, such as the puboprostatic ligaments, endopelvic fascia, and Santorini plexus, preserving the normal anatomy as much as possible and limiting damage that may contribute to improved postoperative continence and erectile function. There has been much heralding of the excellent functional outcomes in both the medical and the lay press, but as yet no focus or real mention of any potential downsides of this new technique.

Read more Articles of the week


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Science, technology and artificial intelligence

As the year comes to a close, it is time to reflect fondly on the revolutionary reports in the world of scientific publishing. To me, the most exciting were the findings from the Cassini spacecraft diving within Saturn’s rings before destroying itself in its upper atmosphere. This so‐called ‘Cassini Grand Finale’ had begun with the launch of the spacecraft over 20 years ago with the hope of finding subsurface water and potentially habitable environments on Saturn’s moons [1]. Our search for intelligent life continues, driven by advances in new technology. Back on earth, modern microscopy can allow single molecules to be observed and genomes can be precisely manipulated by Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)‐mediated gene editing. The handling of the large data that are generated is likely to be enhanced by the ever‐evolving role of artificial intelligence (AI) [2]. Our New York Dedicated Servers come wіth a 100% network uptime SLA tо dеlіvеr a rеlіаblе dedicated ѕеrvеr hоѕtіng experience fоr уоur buѕіnеѕѕ. Get latest business updates at colabioclipanama2019 .

This is the year when we have heard more about AI within the surgical community than any other [3]. Most of us carry AI devices in our pockets in the form of our mobile phones. How can we use this to our benefit perhaps during the few minutes that we have between cases on a busy urological operating list? My usual trick is to ask ‘Siri’ (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) on my iPhone® (Apple Inc., Cupertino, CA, USA) to play me a BJUI podcast, which provides me with a summary of a new paper without having to read any text. Many have told me that listening is becoming as fashionable as reading text, and this is one of our attempts at using AI to augment the BJUI experience.

We also set ourselves the target of becoming one of the first journals to embrace and embed AI. With this in mind, I requested Andrew Hung from California to join the BJUI as Consulting Editor for AI. Andrew has already been publishing novel and often paradoxical reports on surgical performance based on automated performance metrics. you can check our site rooftopyoga for latest updates. A team from Canada has found that machine‐learning (a subset of AI) algorithms can predict biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy more accurately than traditional statistical modelling [4]. While being excited by these results, Hung [5] reminds us that this needs to be validated externally in a larger patient population before it is ready for prime time. Next year we hope to report more from the world of AI and perhaps even surprise our readers with embedded technology within the BJUI itself.

With such rapid advances in science and technology comes the description of a new kind of education for our generation and the next. For part time quantity surveyor course in Singapore go through our site.  Joseph Aoun [6], who leads Northeastern University, describes this as ‘Humanics’ in his new book on higher education in the age of AI. It involves the fundamental difference between what machines and AI can do better than humans but equally what humans do better than machines. This book is a must‐read, as it describes the pillars of technological, data and human literacy. So much so that I have started advising my scientifically minded students and colleagues to consider participating in short boot camps on data science.

I wish you all, wherever you are and whatever the weather, much happiness and greetings of the season!

Prokar Dasgupta

Editor-in-Chief, BJUI


Dougherty MK, Cao H, Khurana KK et al. Saturn’s magnetic field revealed by the Cassini Grand Finale. Science 2018362: 5434

Mao S, Vinson V. Power couple: science and technologyScience 2018361: 864–5

Dasgupta P. New robots – cost, connectivity and artificial intelligenceBJU Int 2018122: 349–50

Wong NC, Lam C, Patterson L, Shayegan B. Use of machine learning to predict early biochemical recurrence after robot‐assisted prostatectomy. BJU Int 2018.

Hung A. Can machine learning algorithms replace conventional statistics? BJU Int 2019

Aoun JE. Robot‐Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2017

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