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Article of the week: Aquablation for benign prostatic hyperplasia in large prostates: 6‐month results from the WATER II trial

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

We invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Aquablation for benign prostatic hyperplasia in large prostates (80–150 mL): 6‐month results from the WATER II trial

Mihir Desai*, Mo Bidair, Kevin C. Zorn, Andrew Trainer§, Andrew Arther§, Eugene Kramolowsky, Leo Doumanian*, Dean Elterman**, Ronald P. Kaufman Jr.††, James Lingeman‡‡, Amy Krambeck‡‡, Gregg Eure§§, Gopal Badlani¶¶, Mark Plante***, Edward Uchio†††, Greg Gin†††, Larry Goldenberg‡‡‡, Ryan Paterson‡‡‡, Alan So‡‡‡, Mitch Humphreys§§§, Claus Roehrborn¶¶¶, Steven Kaplan****, Jay Motola**** and Naeem Bhojani

*Institute of Urology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, San Diego Clinical Trials, San Diego, CA, USA, University of Montreal Hospital Center, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada, §Adult Pediatric Urology and Urogynecology, P.C., Omaha, NE, Virginia Urology, Richmond, VA, USA, **University of Toronto – University HealthNetwork, Toronto, ON, Canada, ††Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, ‡‡Indiana University Health Physicians, Indianapolis, IN, §§Urology of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA, ¶¶Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, ***University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, VT, †††VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA, USA, ‡‡‡University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, §§§Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ, ¶¶¶UT Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, and ****Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA

 

Abstract

Objective

To present 6‐month safety and effectiveness data from a multicentre prospective study of aquablation in men with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) attributable to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) with prostate volumes between 80 and 150 mL.

Methods

Between September and December 2017, 101 men with LUTS attributable to BPH were prospectively enrolled at 16 centers in Canada and the USA.

Results

The mean prostate volume was 107 mL. The mean length of hospital stay after the aquablation procedure was 1.6 days (range: same day to 6 days). The primary safety endpoint (Clavien–Dindo grade 2 or higher or any grade 1 event resulting in persistent disability) at 3 months occurred in 45.5% of men, which met the study design goal of < 65% (P < 0.001). At 6 months, 22% of the patients had experienced a Clavien–Dindo grade 2, 14% a grade 3 and 5% a grade 4 adverse event. Bleeding complications requiring intervention and/or transfusion were recorded in eight patients prior to discharge and in six patients after discharge. The mean International Prostate Symptom Score improved from 23.2 ± 6.3 at baseline to 6.7 ± 5.1 at 3 months, meeting the study’s primary efficacy endpoint goal (P < 0.001). The maximum urinary flow rate increased from 8.7 to 18.8 mL/s (P < 0.001) and post‐void residual urine volume decreased from 131 at baseline to 47 at 6 months (P < 0.0001). At 6 months, prostate‐specific antigen concentration reduced from 7.1 ± 5.9 ng/mL at baseline to 4.0 ± 3.9 ng/mL, a 44% reduction.

Conclusions

Aquablation is safe and effective in treating men with larger prostates (80–150 mL), without significant increase in procedure or resection time.

Article of the week: WATER II (80–150 mL) procedural outcomes

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. These are intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

WATER II (80–150 mL) procedural outcomes

Mihir Desai*, Mo Bidair, Naeem Bhojani, Andrew Trainer§, Andrew Arther§Eugene Kramolowsky, Leo Doumanian*, Dean Elterman**, Ronald P. Kaufman Jr.††James Lingeman‡‡, Amy Krambeck‡‡, Gregg Eure§§, Gopal Badlani¶¶, Mark Plante***Edward Uchio†††, Greg Gin†††, Larry Goldenberg‡‡‡, Ryan Paterson‡‡‡, Alan So‡‡‡Mitch Humphreys§§§, Claus Roehrborn¶¶¶, Steven Kaplan****, Jay Motola**** and Kevin C. Zorn

 

*Institute of Urology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, San Diego Clinical Trials, San Diego, CA, USA, University of Montreal Hospital Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada, §Adult Paediatric Urology and Urogynecology, P.C., Omaha, NE, Virginia Urology, Richmond, VA, USA, **University Health Network University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, ††Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, ‡‡Indiana University Health Physicians, Indianapolis, IN, §§Urology of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA, ¶¶Wake Forest School of Medicine,Winston-Salem, NC, ***University of Vermont Medical Centre, Burlington, VT, †††VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA, USA, ‡‡‡University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, §§§Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ, ¶¶¶Department of Urology, UT Southwestern Medical Centre, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX and ****Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA

 

Abstract

Objectives

To present early safety and feasibility data from a multicentre prospective study (WATER II) of aquablation in the treatment of symptomatic men with large‐volume benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Methods

Between September and December 2017, 101 men with moderate‐to‐severe BPH symptoms and prostate volume of 80–150 mL underwent aquablation in a prospective multicentre international clinical trial. Baseline demographics and standardized postoperative management variables were carefully recorded in a central independently monitored database. Surgeons answered analogue scale questionnaires on intra‐operative technical factors and postoperative management. Adverse events up to 1 month were adjudicated by an independent clinical events committee.

Results

The mean (range) prostate volume was 107 (80–150) mL. The mean (range) operating time was 37 (15–97) min and aquablation resection time was 8 (3–15) min. Adequate adenoma resection was achieved with a single pass in 34 patients and with additional passes in 67 patients (mean 1.8 treatment passes), all in a single operating session. Haemostasis was achieved using either a Foley balloon catheter placed in the bladder under traction (n = 98, mean duration 18 h) or direct tamponade using a balloon inflated in the prostate fossa (n = 3, mean duration 15 h). No patient required electrocautery for haemostasis at the time of the primary procedure. The mean length of stay after the procedure was 1.6 days (range same day to 6 days). The Clavien–Dindo grade ≥2 event rate observed at 1 month was 29.7%. Bleeding complications were recorded in 10 patients (9.9%) during the index procedure hospitalization prior to discharge, and included six (5.9%) peri‐operative transfusions.

Conclusions

Aquablation is feasible and safe in treating men with large prostates (80–150 mL). The 6‐month efficacy data are being accrued and will be presented in future publications (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03123250).

 

Editorial: Aquablating urological skills

Waterjet Ablation Therapy for Endoscopic Resection of prostate tissue (WATER) II (80–150 mL) procedural outcomes by Desai et al. [1] in this issue of the BJUI, reports the results of a robotically controlled cavitating procedure in a multicentre prospective trial that may have wider implications than relief of prostatic hyperplasia causing obstruction.

Management of the large prostate (>80 mL) is often a challenge for many practicing Urologists and requires practice, constant development, and improvement in endoscopic skills. As a result, many differing approaches have been developed and honed, modifying and improving varied skills in the urologist’s armamentarium to equip them to tackle the large prostate. The traditional TURP is recommended only for prostates of 35–80 mL (European Association of Urology [EAU] guidelines 2015). Whilst there are some Urologists who have developed their TURP skills to tackle larger prostates [2], for most other urologists, other procedures have had to be developed to address the very large prostate (>80 mL). As the authors of the paper report, holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP) and photoselective vaporisation of the prostate (PVP) have evolved to enable treatment of the larger prostates endoscopically, but have limited penetrance due to the relatively significant learning curve and fellowship training requirements. Open simple prostatectomy (OSP) has good results but significant potential complications [3]. Robot‐assisted simple prostatectomy is being evaluated as another option [4], but requires an expensive robot and extensive training to develop the skill‐set required to perform the procedure. Laparoscopic simple prostatectomy (LSP) also requires extensive training and experience.

The authors [1] report impressive results of aquablation in these usually challenging large prostates. The mean operative time (OT) was 37 min, which is quick for a large prostate. The average length of stay was 1.6 days. The transfusion rate (TR) was 5.9%, which is higher than HoLEP (0–4%) [4], but is lower than OSP, PVP and LSP. It is important to note that the study involved 16 different sites (13 American and three Canadian) and showed that similar results were achieved across all sites irrespective of the experience of the operator, highlighting the very low learning curve for this procedure. Although this was only a single‐arm study with no control group, the authors have endeavoured to provide a comparison of OT, mean hospital stay and TR between aquablation and other procedures (OSP, PVP, HoLEP and LSP; table 5) based on published literature. Complication rates, operative and hospital metrics of aquablation appear to compare favourably with the current accepted means of managing the large prostate.

The use of balloon tamponade for haemostasis appears to hark back to the days of hanging a saline bag attached to an Indwelling Catheter (IDC) off the end of the bed after a monopolar TURP. Bladder traction was maintained for an average of 18 h. The authors report that fulguration was available to the surgeons in this trial, but none chose to use it as they felt that balloon tamponade was an effective haemostatic mechanism. Fulguration was preferentially avoided based on the WATER trial [5], where it was noted that anejaculation rates were twice as large in the aquablation with fulguration compared to the aquablation without fulguration group (16% vs 7%). The company (PROCEPT BioRobotics, Redwood City, CA, USA) even developed a novel catheter tensioning device (CTD) to assist with controlling the tension on the balloon tamponade demonstrating the old adage that ‘Necessity is the mother of Invention’. It would be interesting to see an objective assessment of discomfort from the balloon tamponade in future studies.

The results of this safety and feasibility trial suggest that aquablation is a quick procedure (37 min) for managing very large prostates. The complication rate is comparable to current endoscopic techniques (HoLEP and PVP) and appears superior to more invasive techniques (LSP and OSP). This study only reported perioperative measures and safety outcomes. No functional outcome or effectiveness measures were reported. The initial WATER trial [5] hints at possible effectiveness, but we will have to wait to see the results from this particular cohort of patients with large prostates (WATER II).

The short learning curve hints at a possible future. If the functional results from this cohort of large prostates treated by the aquablation robot compare favourably to current techniques, the patient with the very large prostate will no longer be only treatable by a few surgeons with an advanced and particular skill set.

Is this truly a quick, safe, effective procedure with no learning curve for large prostates? A randomised controlled trial of longer duration to assess functional outcomes, durability and complications may determine if the aquablation robot eventually renders the current surgical skill sets redundant.

 

References

  1. Desai M, Bidair M, Bhojani N et al. Aquablation Procedural Outcomes for BPH in Large Prostates (80–150cc): Initial Experience. (WATER II {80‐150 ml} procedural outcomes). BJU Int 2019123: 106–12
  2. Persu C, Georgescu D, Arabagiu I, Cauni V, Moldoveanu C, Geavlete P. TURP for BPH. How large is too large? J Med Life 201015: 376–80
  3. Gratzke C, Schlenker B, Seitz M et al. Complications and early postoperative outcome after open prostatectomy in patients with benign prostatic enlargement: results of a prospective multicenter study. J Urol 2007177: 1419–22
  4. Pokorny M, Novara G, Geurts N et al. Robot‐assisted simple prostatectomy for treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms secondary to benign prostatic enlargement: surgical technique and outcomes in a high‐volume robotic centre. Eur Urol 201568: 451–7
  5. Gilling PJ, Barber NJ, Bidair M et al. WATER: a double‐blind, randomized, controlled trial of aquablation® vs transurethral resection of the prostate in benign prostatic enlargement. J Urol 20185: 1252–61

 

Residents’ Podcast: Pelvic Drain Placement After Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy

Jesse Ory, Kyle Lehmann, Jeff Himmelman and Scott Bagnell

Department of Urology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

 

Abstract

Objective

To determine if eliminating the prophylactic placement of a pelvic drain (PD) after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) affects the incidence of early (90-day) postoperative adverse events.

Patients and Methods

In this parallel-group, blinded, non-inferiority trial, we randomised patients planning to undergo RARP to one of two arms: no drain placement (ND) or PD placement. Patients with demonstrable intraoperative leakage upon bladder irrigation were excluded. Randomisation sequence was determined a priori using a computer algorithm, and included a stratified design with respect to low vs intermediate/high D’Amico risk classifications. Surgeons remained blinded to the randomisation arm until final eligibility was verified at the end of the RARP. The primary endpoint was overall incidence of 90-day complications which, based on our standard treatment using PD retrospectively, was estimated at 13%. The non-inferiority margin was set at 10%, and the planned sample size was 312. An interim analysis was planned and conducted when one-third of the planned accrual and follow-up was completed, to rule out futility if the delta margin was in excess of 0.1389.

Results

From 2012 to 2016, 189 patients were accrued to the study, with 92 patients allocated to the ND group and 97 to the PD group. Due to lower than expected accrual rates, accrual to the study was halted by regulatory entities, and we did not reach the intended accrual goal. The ND and PD groups were comparable for median PSA level (6.2 vs 5.8 ng/mL, P = 0.5), clinical stage (P = 0.8), D’Amico risk classification (P = 0.4), median lymph nodes dissected (17 vs 18, P = 0.2), and proportion of patients receiving an extended pelvic lymph node dissection (70.7% vs 79.4%, P = 0.3). Incidence of 90-day overall and major (Clavien–Dindo grade >III) complications in the ND group (17.4% and 5.4%, respectively) was not inferior to the PD group (26.8% and 5.2%, respectively; P < 0.001 and P = 0.007 for difference of proportions <10%, respectively). Symptomatic lymphocoele rates (2.2% in the ND group, 4.1% in the PD group) were comparable between the two arms (P = 0.7).

Conclusions

Incidence of adverse events in the ND group was not inferior to the group who received a PD. In properly selected patients, PD placement after RARP can be safely withheld without significant additional morbidity.

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Article of the Week: Chitosan membranes applied on the prostatic neurovascular bundles after nerve‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy: a phase II study

Every Week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this month, it should be this one.

Chitosan membranes applied on the prostatic neurovascular bundles after nerve‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy: a phase II study

Francesco Porpiglia* , Riccardo Bertolo*, Cristian Fiori*, Matteo Manfredi*, Sabrina De Cillis* and Stefano Geuna

 

*Division of Urology, Department of Oncology, and Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, University of Turin, Orbassano, Turin, Italy

 

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the feasibility and the safety of applying chitosan membrane (ChiMe) on the neurovascular bundles (NVBs) after nerve‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy (NS‐RARP). The secondary aim of the study was to report preliminary data and in particular potency recovery data.

Patients and Methods

This was a single‐centre, single‐arm prospective study, enrolling all patients with localised prostate cancer scheduled for RARP with five‐item version of the International Index of Erectile Function scores of >17, from July 2015 to September 2016. All patients underwent NS‐RARP with ChiMe applied on the NVBs. The demographics, perioperative, postoperative and complications data were evaluated. Potency recovery data were evaluated in particular and any sign/symptom of local allergy/intolerance to the ChiMe was recorded and evaluated.

Results

In all, 140 patients underwent NS‐RARP with ChiMe applied on the NVBs. Applying the ChiMe was easy in almost all the cases, and did not compromise the safety of the procedure. None of the patients reported signs of intolerance/allergy attributable to the ChiMe and potency recovery data were encouraging.

Conclusion

In our experience, ChiMe applied on the NVBs after NS‐RARP was feasible and safe, without compromising the duration, difficulty or complication rate of the ‘standard’ procedure. No patients had signs of intolerance/allergy attributable to the ChiMe and potency recovery data were encouraging. A comparative cohort would have added value to the study. The present paper was performed before Conformité Européene (CE)‐mark achievement.

Editorial: Nerve wrapping with biomaterials during radical prostatectomy to improve potency recovery

Radical prostatectomy is one of the standard treatment options for localized prostate cancer. The functional outcomes of radical prostatectomy are steadily improving along with better understanding of the surgical anatomy involved. Technological and technical advancements have helped improve continence outcomes significantly. High‐volume centres have consistently reported continence rates of >95% 1; however, potency recovery is the major limiting factor in achieving trifecta, even with full nerve‐sparing. Neuropraxia secondary to surgical dissection is one of the factors delaying potency recovery. We were the first to introduce the concept of protecting the neurovascular bundle using a wrap. In 2015, we first published our work on dehydrated human amnion‐chorion membrane (dHACM) nerve wrapping, a potential means of improving functional outcomes after radical prostatectomy 2.

Clinical applications of biomaterials are increasingly being explored. Their biological and physiochemical properties influence their role in peripheral nervous system regenerative therapy 3. Amniotic membrane graft has multiple growth factors including epidermal growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor and anti‐inflammatory chemokines and cytokines including interleukin (IL)‐1, IL‐10 and IL‐1ra. In vitro and in vivo studies have reported that dHACM minimizes the surgical trauma‐induced inflammation and peri‐neural adhesions. These membranes are commercially available in various sizes for clinical use.

Porpiglia et al. 4 have reported their work on chitosan membrane application on the prostatic neurovascular bundle. Their phase II study is a step towards finding an ideal biomaterial favouring peripheral nerve healing. Chitosan is another potential biomaterial made of glucosamine and N‐acetyl glucosamine polymer which are natural components of mammalian tissues 5. Chitosan is hypoallergenic and only transiently stimulates the immune system and ultimately becomes bio‐tolerated and metabolized. It is not possible to develop specific antibodies against it because there are no proteins and lipids in its structure. Chitosan has inherent antimicrobial activity as its positive loads destabilize the membrane integrity of microorganisms. The inherent haemostatic and antimicrobial action of chitosan favour its application in wound healing. Chitosan has been extensively researched as a carrier molecule for biologically active particles and a scaffold in tissue engineering. Porpiglia et al. 4 have reported the safety and feasibility of its application for neurovascular bundle wrap during radical prostatectomy. In their non‐comparative study, they observed 96.4% continence and 68.6% potency recovery within 6 months. Comparative clinical trials are recommended to study its advantages in both partial and full nerve‐sparing settings. Membranes were manufactured from chitosan solution and sterilized for the purposes of the study. Pending approval by the regulators, study in other centres using chitosan membrane may be challenging.

The urological community has long been searching for ways to optimize functional outcomes after radical prostatectomy. Even for an ideal candidate with full nerve‐sparing, potency recovery is not assured. Several technical and technological modifications are being explored to address this concern. Bio-materials hold potential, and further exploration is warranted in the form of multicentre and randomized trials.

Hariharan Palayapalayam GanapathiFikret OnolTravis Rogers and Vipul Patel
Global Robotics Institute at Florida Hospital, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Celebration, FL, USA

 

References

 

  • Patel VR, Abdul‐Muhsin HM, Schatloff O et al.Critical review of ‘pentafecta’ outcomes after robot‐assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy in high‐volume centresBJU Int2011108: 1007–17

 

  • Patel VR, Samavedi S, Bates AS et al.Dehydrated Human Amnion/Chorion membrane allograft nerve wrap around the prostatic neurovascular bundle accelerates early return to continence and potency following robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy: propensity score‐matched analysisEur Urol201567: 977–80

 

  • Dalamagkas K, Tsintou M, Seifalian A. Advances in peripheral nervous system regenerative therapeutic strategies: a biomaterials approachMater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl201665: 425–32

 

  • Porpiglia F, Bertolo R, Fiori C, Manfredi M, De Cillis S, Geuna S. Chitosan membranes applied on the prostatic neurovascular bundles after nerve‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy: a phase II studyBJU Int2018121: 473–9

 

  • Rodríguez‐Vázquez M, Vega‐Ruiz B, Ramos‐Zúñiga R, Saldaña‐Koppel DA, Quiñones‐Olvera LF. Chitosan and its potential use as a scaffold for tissue engineering in regenerative medicineBiomed Res Int20152015: 821279

 

Video: Chitosan membranes applied on the prostatic neurovascular bundles after nerve‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy: a phase II study

Chitosan membranes applied on the prostatic neurovascular bundles after nerve‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy: a phase II study

 

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the feasibility and the safety of applying chitosan membrane (ChiMe) on the neurovascular bundles (NVBs) after nerve‐sparing robot‐assisted radical prostatectomy (NS‐RARP). The secondary aim of the study was to report preliminary data and in particular potency recovery data.

Patients and Methods

This was a single‐centre, single‐arm prospective study, enrolling all patients with localised prostate cancer scheduled for RARP with five‐item version of the International Index of Erectile Function scores of >17, from July 2015 to September 2016. All patients underwent NS‐RARP with ChiMe applied on the NVBs. The demographics, perioperative, postoperative and complications data were evaluated. Potency recovery data were evaluated in particular and any sign/symptom of local allergy/intolerance to the ChiMe was recorded and evaluated.

Results

In all, 140 patients underwent NS‐RARP with ChiMe applied on the NVBs. Applying the ChiMe was easy in almost all the cases, and did not compromise the safety of the procedure. None of the patients reported signs of intolerance/allergy attributable to the ChiMe and potency recovery data were encouraging.

Conclusion

In our experience, ChiMe applied on the NVBs after NS‐RARP was feasible and safe, without compromising the duration, difficulty or complication rate of the ‘standard’ procedure. No patients had signs of intolerance/allergy attributable to the ChiMe and potency recovery data were encouraging. A comparative cohort would have added value to the study. The present paper was performed before Conformité Européene (CE)‐mark achievement.

 

Light Years Ahead – John Wickham (1927 – 2017)

John Wickham BSc, MB BS, MD, FRCS(Eng), FRCP(Hon), FRCR(Hon), FRSM(Hon)

1927 – 2017

 

 

 

 

The news of the passing of the legendary John Wickham on 26 Oct 2017 will sadden many. Here is a celebration of the life of a visionary thinker, innovator and pioneering surgeon.

Born in Chichester, John moved with his mother to Littlehampton and spent many happy years in rural Sussex. This year he published his book “An Open and Shut case – The story of Keyhole or Minimally Invasive Surgery” which describes his unique journey through life and his passion for reducing the trauma of surgery for the benefit of his patients. A couple of years before this, he sent me the “raw” version to read and comment on. This will forever remain a treasured possession along with a first signed copy of the final version which arrived on my desk in May 2017. A brilliant exercise in honest writing combined with his wry humour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were a number of exciting events in his childhood. He describes “epilation radiotherapy” to his scalp to eradicate ringworm which he provides as the explanation for the lack of hair in later life. Such personal touches keep the reader engaged as do his daily travels from Littlehampton to Bart’s (St. Bartholomew’s Hospital), costing £16 per quarter. He was interviewed by Sir William Girling-Ball for his entry into medical school and subsequently worked for Sir Ronald Bodley-Scott, physician to HM the Queen. Time spent in the Royal Air Force (RAF) toughened him up for the complexities of life as a surgeon. 

He was trained in urology by Mr A W Badenoch, another legend in his own right. John describes his first inguinal hernia repair, during which his chief had to leave to take a phone call and he was saved by guidance from the anaesthetist. In his days the pass rate for the FRCS was around 10% and he was one of the lucky ones! He subsequently worked with Prof. Ian Aird of the textbook fame. He met his wife Ann, during a below knee amputation from behind a surgical mask. He was awarded a Fullbright scholarship to Lexington, USA which he thoroughly enjoyed. Despite the offer of a job to stay back, the family decided to return to the UK, where he became a Bart’s man, going on to lead the Department of Urology as its head with Bill Hendry as his colleague.

He was also the Director of the Academic Unit at the Institute of Urology at the then 3Ps (Peter, Paul and Phillips) Hospitals and after the move of St. Peter’s to the Middlesex Hospital. He was also Consultant Urological Surgeon to the King Edward VII Hospital and The London Clinic.

He is credited with a number of pioneering achievements. His device for renal cooling with coils was published in the BJU in 1967. He worked with the famous Sir David Innes Williams and was awarded the Hunterian Professorship. He also published a seminal paper on urethral pressure profile.

Very few will know that he was sidelined with an attack of acute pancreatitis and needed a cholecystectomy for gall stones.

He developed PCNL with Mike Kellett and then the Society and Journal for Minimally Invasive Therapy (SMIT) as well as the Intrarenal Society. He inspired the future generation of great innovators like Graham Watson, Ron Miller and Malcolm Coptcoat, to name a few. With the help of the Kuwait Health Office he managed to instal a Dornier lithotripter in Welbeck street which was revolutionary in those days.

John developed the PROBOT, the first autonomous surgical robot with Prof. Brian Davies at Imperial College. Initially tested in potatoes, it was then refined with the addition of a mapping ultrasound and a vaportome, leading to a world first clinical trial at Guy’s, where he had moved to with the support of Lord Ian McColl. In this project, he was ably helped by Malcolm Coptcoat, Anthony Timoney, Senthil Nathan and Bibhas Kundu. Many years later this device was displayed at a public exhibition at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It is curious how autonomy is again being discussed amongst roboticists after some 30 years.

Following retirement from the NHS he continued to innovate by establishing a company called Syclix which allowed him to design laparoscopic instruments with pen like grips rather than the traditional handles. He arrived at Guy’s one summers morning to show me these instruments to try on one of my laparoscopic nephrectomy patients. At my request, he examined Ben Challacombe’s thesis on the first ever randomised trial of telerobotics and was then guest of honour at our first robotics symposium in 2004 and the inauguration of the King’s-Vattikuti Institute of Robotic Surgery in 2014.

While clinically active he did his best to spread his philosophy about Minimally Invasive Surgery throughout the world by lecturing and publishing articles in the BMJ, amongst other journals. Many did not believe in him, but he was clearly light years ahead of his time. He received numerous honours, which included the Cheselden Medal and the Galen Medal of the Society of Apothecaries.

It was a privilege to know him and he will remain a lasting inspiration to many.

Prokar Dasgupta

Editor in Chief, BJUI

 

BJUI has published a special Virtual Issue celebrating the legacy and work of John Wickham

 

 

Highlights from the Urological Association of Asia Annual Congress 2017

Having trained and worked in London throughout my urology career, I have recently relocated and joined the exciting, dynamic urology community of my birthplace, Hong Kong. Coincidentally, it so happens to be this year’s host of the Urological Association of Asia (UAA) annual congress #UAA2017.

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The beautiful and mesmerising night view of the Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong.

Established in 1990 in Fukuoka, Japan, the #UAA currently has 25 urological associations as members or affiliated members across Asia and Australasia with and over 25,000 members. This was my attendance at the #UAA and it most certainly did not disappoint. What made the conference even more special was the chance to meet up with my good friend and ex-colleague from Guy’s Hospital @nairajesh – both of us were honoured to speak at the meeting. With over 1600 delegates attending the meeting and over 500 scientific abstracts presented, the congress served as an excellent platform for knowledge exchange and the establishment of professional links with many urological greats in Asia and beyond.

 

Pre #UAA2017 Congress Activities

#UAA2017 started off with a pre-congress ‘wet-lab’ 3D laparoscopic skills and endourology workshop hosted by @HKUniversity and the European School of Urology @UrowebESU. Both transperitoneal laparoscopic and retroperitoneoscopic techniques were taught by eminent leaders and pioneers in minimally invasive urological surgery by faculties from Europe, India and China, including Professor Jens Rassweiller, Professor Christian Schwentner (@Schwenti1977), Dr Domenico Veneziano (@d_veneziano), Professor Janak Desai (@drjanajddesai), and Professor Zhang Shudong.

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Joint UAA-ESU 3D laparoscopic and endourological skills course faculties. Left to right: Dr Ada Ng (Hong Kong), Dr Wayne Lam @WayneLam_Urol (Hong Kong), Professor Janek Desai @drjanajddesai (India), Professor Jens Rassweiller (Germany), Professor MK Yiu (Hong Kong), Dr James Tsu (Hong Kong), Dr WK Ma (Hong Kong).

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Joint UAA-ESU 3D Laparoscopic skills workshop – Above: Professor Rassweiller (Germany) supervising overseas delegates. Below: Professor MK Yiu (Hong Kong) demonstrating techniques of laparoscopic suturing to delegates from China.

The renal cell carcinoma #RCC masterclass was a particular highlight. A whole day of excellent lectures and speakers entertained both local and international delegates, and was particularly popular with trainees. There were talks examining the role of percutaneous biopsy of renal tumours presented by Alessandro Volpe (@foxal72), an update of current trends and techniques in robotic and laparoscopic partial nephrectomy by Dr. Joseph Wong (Hong Kong) and Dr. Shuo Wang (China) and a fantastic discussion examining the role of non-clamping partial nephrectomy by Dr. Ringo Chu (Hong Kong). The afternoon session kicked off with @nairajesh giving a comprehensive review on the surgical management of advanced #RCC. Professor Axel Bex (Netherlands) continued with an examination of neoadjuvant and adjuvant systemic therapy in #RCC and the emerging role of #immunotherapy. Professor Alessandro Volpe (@foxal72) discussed the current #EAU guidelines and recent updates.

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Masterclass in #RCC: @foxal72 , @nairajesh , Professor Axel Bex (Netherlands), with moderators Dr Ringo Chu (Hong Kong) and Dr Joseph Wong (Hong Kong).

 

Day 1 of #UAA2017

The plenary session on day 1 of #UAA started off with Professor Zengnan Mo from China on the epidemiology of prostate cancer in Asia. There is, not surprisingly, a very diverse range of incidence of #prostatecancer rate across the largest continent in the world, inevitably effected by the presence of #PSA screening in countries such as Japan and Korea, ethnicity (East Asia vs Middle East), genetics (Israeli Jewish population), and their local healthcare system and policies. Arguably the currently available #prostatecancer screening trials may not be applicable to the Asian populations, and various on-going studies in Japan and China are going to address these issues. One in particular is an ongoing population-based study funded by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, in which over 50,000 men will be recruited into the screening, early detection, localised, and advanced #prostatecancer cohorts and to be followed up with time. Obviously, we will not expect to see the results of the trial anytime soon, but will surely answers to address the behaviour of prostate cancer in the Asian population in the future.

Professor Sam Cheng (@UroCancerMD) from Vanderbilt University then gave a comprehensive review on the current status of #cystectomy. Robotic cystectomy appears to have the benefit of reduced blood loss and length of stay. However, long-term oncological outcome still remains uncertain, and certainly, patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) is lacking.

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Day 2 of #UAA2017

After early showers on day 2 of UAA, Hong Kong was heating up with temperatures over 33 degrees Celsius. So were the discussions in the plenary session in the morning. Professor Freddie Hamdy (@Freddie_Hamdy) gave the #EAU lecture on #activesurveillance for #prostatecancer. This was followed on nicely with the current status of #prostatecancer management in Hong Kong by Dr. Yau-Tung Chan and Dr. Gerhardt Attard (UK) enlightened the audience with a concise update in the management of hormone sensitive prostate cancer, an area where the landscape is ever-changing.

The advanced oncology session started off with a heated debate in the use of mass clamping (Dr Ringo Chu, Hong Kong) versus selective artery clamping in partial nephrectomy (Dr Tae-Gyun Kwon, Korea). Both speakers presented with very valid arguments and perhaps it was fair to say it ended up with all square. Professor Krishna Sethia (UK) gave a fascinating summary of the current local management of #penilecancer at centralised penile cancer centres in the UK, after which I was honoured to provide an update on current nodal management in #penilecancer from my recent experience at St George’s University Hospitals @StGeorgesTrust in the UK. It was exciting to see the centralisation of services in #penilecancer in the UK has given great opportunities to understand and optimise management of patients with such rare disease.

The Semi-live sessions entertained the audience on both days of the conference. Excellent videos were presented throughout. Professor Koon Rha of Yonsei University in South Korea gave a fantastic semi-live talk on his tricks and techniques of Retzius-space sparing Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. Perhaps what’s even more exciting to know is that a Korean company has produced a new robot for surgery which has been well tested by Professor Rha’s group, which has just literally been licenced and approved in Korea just days before #UAA2017. Will this finally drive the cost of robotic surgery down? Time will tell.

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Associate Professor Declan Murphy (@declanmurphy) and Mr. Rajesh Nair (@nairajesh) both contributed with a beautiful video showcasing techniques in total pelvic exenteration and long-term outcomes of urinary diversion and reconstruction in this cohort of patients.

The Gala dinner in the evening was full of fun and entertainment. Following the performance of a soprano quartet formed by local Hong Kong urologists (who sang the classic My Way with a twist on prostate examination!), the rock stars of urology – Professor Jens Rassweiller, Dr Samuel Yee from Hong Kong, and Dr Domenico Veneziano (@d_veneziano) provided an energetic and electrifying live performance of some rock classics!

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Urology Rock N’ Roll! Left to right: Professor Jens Rassweiller (Germany), Dr Domenico Veneziano (Italy), Dr Samuel Yee (Hong Kong).

However, perhaps the highlight and the most touching moment of the evening the performance of a song written and sung by a young local former patient with a history of #ketaminebladder , who was successfully treated by the urology team lead by Professor Anthony Ng at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong. His surgery and treatment has transformed his life – he is now enjoying a career as both a singer-songwriter of a rock band and as a footballer!

 

Day 3 of #UAA2017

The morning plenary session also saw the evergreen Dr Peggy Chu of Hong Kong, renown for her discovery of ketamine-associated uropathy and pioneered the management of this challenging 21st century urological disease.

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Left to right: Dr CW Man (Hong Kong), Congress President of #UAA2017, and Dr Peggy Chu (Hong Kong).

She delivered a very interesting talk on revisiting the role of #gastrocystoplasty. Interestingly, the operation was first described and carried out in human by the honourable Professor CH Leong at my current institution, Queen Mary Hospital @HKUniversity , in the 1970s following a successful animal study at the same institution. Its use has been limited due to its associated metabolic disturbances, but arguably it is still a weapon that can be used when tackling patients with tuberculosis-associated severely contracted bladder, in particular those who have already been rendered to have a single solitary kidney due to the disease. Another situation when #gastrocystoplasty can still be considered are those patients with #ketamine uropathy. Although patients are usually required to be completely abstinence from #ketamine abuse for a certain lengthy period of time before they are eligible for surgical treatment, many fear the avalanche effect of ileal re-absorption of the drug if an ileo-cystoplasty has been carried out in these patients, if they happen to resume ketamine use in the future. Hence, #gastrocystoplasty may be a better substitution tissue for cystoplasty in the management of such patients.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to catch up with fellow Guy’s Hospital urology graduates @nairajesh and @declanmurphy over a cold pint of Hong Kong locally made #MoonzenBeer, when the temperature outside the conference centre was hitting 34 degrees Celsius!

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Left to right: Dr Wayne Lam (Hong Kong), Mr Rajesh Nair (Australia/United Kingdom), A/Prof Declan Murphy (Australia).

All credits to #UAA and the local organisers’ immense effort and hard work, making this congress a valuable learning experience for everyone who participated. We very much look forward to #UAA2018. Bring on Kyoto, Japan!

 

 

Wayne Lam

Assistant Professor in Urology, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong

Twitter: @WayneLam_Urol

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Rajesh Nair

Fellow in Robotic Surgery and Uro-Oncology

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Article of the Week: International Consultation on Urological Diseases and EAU International Consultation on Minimally Invasive Surgery in Urology: laparoscopic and robotic adrenalectomy

Every Week the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video discussing the paper.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

International Consultation on Urological Diseases and European Association of Urology International Consultation on Minimally Invasive Surgery in Urology: laparoscopic and robotic adrenalectomy

 

Mark W. Ball*, Ashok K. Hemal† and Mohamad E. Allaf*

 

*James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute and Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, and Department of Urology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Abstract

The aim of this study was to provide an evidence-based systematic review of the use of laparoscopic and robotic adrenalectomy in the treatment of adrenal disease as part of the International Consultation on Urological Diseases and European Association of Urology consultation on Minimally Invasive Surgery in Urology. A systematic literature search (January 2004 to January 2014) was conducted to identify comparative studies assessing the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive adrenal surgery. Subtopics including the role of minimally invasive surgery for pheochromocytoma, adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and large adrenal tumours were examined. Additionally, the role of transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approaches, as well as laparoendoscopic single-site (LESS) and robotic adrenalectomy were reviewed. The major findings are presented in an evidence-based fashion. Large retrospective and prospective data were analysed and a set of recommendations provided by the committee was produced. Laparoscopic surgery should be considered the first-line therapy for benign adrenal masses requiring surgical resection and for patients with pheochromocytoma. While a laparoscopic approach may be feasible for selected cases of ACC without adjacent organ involvement, an open surgical approach remains the ‘gold standard’. Large adrenal tumours without preoperative or intra-operative suspicion of ACC may be safely resected via a laparoscopic approach. Both transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approaches to laparoscopic adrenalectomy are safe. The approach should be chosen based on surgeon training and experience. LESS and robotic adrenalectomy should be considered as alternatives to laparoscopic adrenalectomy but require further study.

 

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