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Urofair 2018

Urofair Congress Highlights – Singapore 2018

From 12-14 July, the Singapore Urological Association (SUA) welcomed 450 delegates from across Asia and further afield to sunny Singapore for Urofair 2018.

The theme was Integrating Scientific Knowledge, Technology and Clinical Urology, and the excellent scientific program crafted by the organizing chairman John Yuen and scientific chairmen Joe Lee and Terence Lim, certainly reflected this.

Continuing a fine tradition, the BJUI once again has supported this meeting with all accepted abstracts to be published in a special supplements issue.

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Pre-Urofair activities

Preceding the Urofair, was the Urology Residents Course (URC) and the European Basic Laparoscopic Urological Skills (E-BLUS). The revision of key concepts at URC followed by grounding of basic laparoscopic skills by great minimally invasive surgeons Christian Schwenter and Evanguelos Xylinas was truly beneficial for the residents, and primed them well for the latest updates they received at Urofair.

Urology Residents Course Class of 2018

Simulation and tutoring – Evanguelos Xylinas supervising a trainee on laparoscopic trainer at E-BLUS

Urofair 2018 started with a bang, with the ever popular live and semi-live surgery sessions at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. One of the highlights of the session was the masterful demonstration of retroperitoneal robotic assisted partial nephrectomy by James Porter (@JamesPorterMD). One of the attractions of live surgery is the anticipation of intraoperative problems and the thrill of watching experts manage them. This session was no exception, as Allen Sim of Singapore General Hospital showed calmness under pressure, as he showed how to deal with an inadvertent breach of the peritoneum and control of bleeding during a difficult retroperitoneal nephroureterectomy. The semilive demonstrations were no less educational, with Christopher Evans showing how he manages unusual anatomic variants during robotic radical prostatectomy.

One of the main highlights of this year’s Urofair was the launch of the inaugural KT Foo Lecture by the Father of Singapore Urology, Professor Foo, Keong Tatt who presented his life-long research work on the management of BPH. At the end of this tour de force, he was presented with the well-deserved SUA Life-time Achievement Award.

Lim Kok Bin (left), President of the SUA presenting the SUA Lifetime Achievement Award to Prof KT Foo (right)

 One of the goals of the SUA is to serve as a bridge between regional and international urological associations. Urofair 2018 reflected this goal with multiple joint sessions with our friends from the Malaysian Urological Association (MUA), European Urological Association (EAU), Urological Associations of Asia (UAA), Federation of Asean Urological Associations (FAUA) and Hannam Urological Association. Dr Tan Hui Meng delivered the MUA lecture on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). He refuted some of the controversies regarding TRT, and cited the supporting data to defend its use. On a practical note, he shared his checklist for counselling and consent-taking before starting TRT in clinical practice. We were deeply honoured that the Secretary General of the EAU Professor Christopher Chapple(@ProfCRChapple) himself, delivered the EAU plenary on Substitution Urethroplasty. The management of urethral strictures is challenging due to the vast variability between patients, stricture aetiology, location and available tissue reconstruction. One key tip was that urethroscopy was useful to identify early stricture recurrence, which otherwise can be missed on uroflowmetry.

Hong Seok Shin from the Hannam Urological Association presented his unique presentation on Plastic surgery in collaboration with phẫu thuật gọt hàm, highlighting the importance of patient selection and counselling. The FAUA session was held concurrently with attendance of key office-holders of the various ASEAN urological associations. The theme of the session was on the development of MIS in Urology in the ASEAN countries discussion on “Cross-boundary Disease Management” with interesting clinical cases presented from different countries was lively. Koon Ho Rha delivered the UAA lecture on “The Role of Cytoreductive Prostatectomy in Advanced Prostate Cancer”, and showed in his series, that well selected patients with locally advanced disease, benefited from prostatectomy, which can be safely done robotically.

Multiple masterclasses ran concurrently on a range of subjects, including MRI-TRUS Fusion biopsies, Renal Transplantion, Andrology and Reconstructive Urology. The Robotic Surgery Masterclass chaired by Png Keng Siang was attended by a full house! The five expert robotic surgeons (Chris Evans, Koon Ho Rha, James Porter, Declan Murphy and Steve Chang) spoke on a range of topics from retroperitoneoscopic RAPN, to nerve-sparing techniques and complications of RARP to the use of different versions of robots (Si vs Xi) in robotic nephroureterectomy. The session ended with lively discussions between the panel and the audience in an interactive video session on trouble shooting challenging surgical aspects of RAPN and RARP.

The closing plenary was a “Glimpse into the Future”, covering topics from Precision Oncology and the role of Clinical Genetics for Urologic cancers, to the “The New Robots on the Block”.

Koon Ho Rha gave us a tour of the development of the ubiquitous Da Vinci, followed by the up and coming competitors, including one which has licensed and commercially available in Korea. Competition in this field can only make robotics in urology better and hopefully more cost effective.

Declan Murphy(@declanmurphy), Social Media Director of the BJUI shared his insights on the role of Social Media in Urology Practice. He highlighted the shift in the publishing paradigm, with videos and blogs of new findings peer reviewed on social media, before “traditional publication” by a journal, followed by amplification of the publication on social media.

Nurses are an integral part of the urological care, and they were certainly active at Urofair. The 180 strong audience at the Nursing Symposium were rapt with attention as Ms Helen Crowe shared her vast experience as Australia’s first Urology Nurse Practitioner on Prostate Cancer Nursing as well as expanding the role of Urology Nurses.

The Nursing Masterclass on the management of urinary incontinence was fully subscribed, and the practical hands on nature of the class was a big hit with the participants.

Physiotherapists conducting pelvic floor exercises with the Urology Nurses

 Our GP partners were not forgotten, and the 120 GPs who attended were treated to a great program. In this era of fake news, the standout lecture must have been “Google is not your friend”, where Lee Fang Jern shared the perils of medical fake news, and how medical practitioners can guide our patients to navigate the internet in search of reliable medical information.

The Gala Dinner was a fitting end to a fruitful Urofair, where everyone had a chance to strengthen and renew friendships over good food and wine.

Organising Chairman John Yuen is all smiles after the successful conclusion of Urofair

 The highlight of the Gala, was the rarely seen Bian Lian (变脸) performance. Bian Lian is an ancient Chinese dramatic art, where performers wear brightly colored costumes and vividly colored masks, typically depicting well known characters from the opera, which they change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.

Bian Lian (变脸) performer

On a personal note, Urofair was a great opportunity to reconnect with Declan Murphy, who was my supervisor during my fellowship at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. I was honoured to have him and his son @cianblakemurphy (who is probably the youngest person to drive the Da Vinci) visit the National University Hospital where I work. Declan shared to a multispecialty group of robotic surgeons, his journey of expanding the adoption of robotics across multiple surgical disciplines at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and that the Da Vinci’s role in education, research and talent retention was key in surmounting concerns regarding cost.

On behalf of the SUA, we would like to thank all our international and local faculty for their efforts, and the delegates from near and far, for making Urofair 2018 a resounding success.

Finally, we are excited to announce Urofair 2019 will be held on 4-6 April 2019. Please save the date, and we look forward to welcoming you to Singapore.

Lincoln Tan

Consultant Urologist and Director of Urologic Oncology, National University Hospital, Singapore

Twitter: @LincolnRoboDoc

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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