UroToday - Robot assisted surgery is here to stay and will increasingly play a role in endoscopic surgery.

The Cleveland Clinic group describes a steerable, ureteral catheter system that accommodates a flexible ureteroscope. This allows intuitive navigation of the intra-renal collecting system with adequate visualization of 98% of the calices in ten live pig kidneys. As with all new technology, there is a learning curve which resulted in a marked reduction in time to inspect all calices, from 15 minutes with the first animal down to 49 seconds in the last animal. One renal pelvic perforation occurred during the study. The visualization and stability of the system was rated as 10 out of 10 by the operating surgeon. All stones that had been placed in the upper collecting system were successfully fragmented.

While technological refinements will undoubtedly be undertaken with this new prototype, clinical application appears to be imminent. This will be the future of endourology.

Desai MM, Aron M, Gill IS, Pascal-Haber G, Ukimura O, Kaouk JH, Stahler G, Barbagli F, Carlson C, Moll F
Urology. 2008 Jul;72(1):42-6.

Reported by UroToday Contributing Editor Elspeth M. McDougall, MD, FRCSC

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