Publications by authors named "Alberto Piana"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Robot-assisted kidney transplantation: State of art.

Arch Esp Urol 2021 Dec;74(10):970-978

Fundació Puigvert. Autonomous University of Barcelona. Barcelona. Spain.

Objectives: Nowadays, Robotic assistedkidney transplantation (RAKT) is considered a lessinvasive alternative to the Open Kidney Transplantation(OKT) with several advantages such as image magnification,3D vision and articulated instruments and with arelatively short learning curve for an experienced surgeon.RAKT has shown comparable outcomes with theOKT literature data in terms of surgical and functionalresults. RAKT may decrease the complication rate, meanhospital stay, postoperative pain, and also improve aestheticoutcomes. The aim of this study was to perform asystematic review of the literature on this novel approachof KT.

Materials And Methods: A systematic review was performed in accordance with the Preferred ReportingItems for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)statement. The search was conducted using the databases PubMed/Medline, including as outcomes: (1) indications, (2) step-by-step technique for RAKT, (3) RAKT in special cases (4) surgical and functional outcomes,and (5) future perspectives in RAKT.

Results: The indications for RAKT are expanding, sothat including obese recipients, graft with multiple vesselsand graft from deceased donor. To date, the two absolute contraindications to RAKT are patients unfitfor pneumoperitoneum and presenting advanced atheromatic plaques where vessel clamping could result challenging. As far as the outcomes, the surgical and functional results are in line with the OKT experience.Complication rate is low in RAKT, particularly in terms of arterial and venous thrombosis (1%), lymphocele (3%),ureteral stricture (2%), and wound infection (0.3%). Arobotic assisted kidney auto-transplantation (RAKAT) has been recently described, as novel approach in case of complex proximal benign ureteral stenosis. Despite great advances in this field, some limits still need to be approached such as the modality to main tain the graft to a constant low temperature ( <20 ºC) and to find the proper location of arteriotomy in advanced atheromatic disease without the tactile feedback.

Conclusion: The present review has confirmed that RAKT is as safe and feasible as OKT with comparable surgical and functional results. Complication rate is lower in RAKT than OKT and the indications are expanding quickly. Furthermore, new technologies are being introduced in order to improve the surgical performances and to expand more the indications for robotic surgery.However, a prospective randomized study in order to compare RAKT versus OKT is still required.
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December 2021

Treatment of Ureteral Stent-Related Symptoms.

Urol Int 2021 Nov 2:1-16. Epub 2021 Nov 2.

Division of Urology, Department of Oncology, School of Medicine, San Luigi Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Background: The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the main classes of drugs used at reducing morbidity related to ureteric stents.

Summary: After establishing a priori protocol, a systematic electronic literature search was conducted in July 2019. The randomized clinical trials (RCTs) selection proceeded in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and was registered (PROSPERO ID 178130). The risk of bias and the quality assessment of the included RCTs were performed. Ureteral Stent Symptom Questionnaire (USSQ), International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), and quality of life (QoL) were pooled for meta-analysis. Mean difference and risk difference were calculated as appropriate for each outcome to determine the cumulative effect size. Fourteen RCTs were included in the analysis accounting for 2,842 patients. Alpha antagonist, antimuscarinic, and phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors significatively reduced all indexes of the USSQ, the IPSS and QoL scores relative to placebo. Conversely, combination therapy (alpha antagonist plus antimuscarinic) showed in all indexes of the USSQ, IPSS, and QoL over alpha antagonist or antimuscarinic alone. On comparison with alpha blockers, PDE inhibitors were found to be equally effective for urinary symptoms, general health, and body pain parameters, but sexual health parameters improved significantly with PDE inhibitors. Finally, antimuscarinic resulted in higher decrease in all indexes of the USSQ, the IPSS, and QoL relative to alpha antagonist. Key message: Relative to placebo, alpha antagonist alone, antimuscarinics alone, and PDE inhibitors alone have beneficial effect in reducing stent-related symptoms. Furthermore, there are significant advantages of combination therapy compared with monotherapy. Finally, PDE inhibitors are comparable to alpha antagonist, and antimuscarinic seems to be more effective than alpha antagonist alone.
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November 2021

Percutaneous Kidney Puncture with Three-dimensional Mixed-reality Hologram Guidance: From Preoperative Planning to Intraoperative Navigation.

Eur Urol 2021 Nov 16. Epub 2021 Nov 16.

Division of Urology, Department Of Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Background: Despite technical and technological innovations, percutaneous puncture still represents the most challenging step when performing percutaneous nephrolithotomy. This maneuver is characterized by the steepest learning curve and a risk of injuring surrounding organs and kidney damage.

Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of three-dimensional mixed reality (3D MR) holograms in establishing the access point and guiding the needle during percutaneous kidney puncture.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This prospective study included ten patients who underwent 3D MR endoscopic combined intrarenal surgery (ECIRS) for kidney stones from July 2019 to January 2020. A retrospective series of patients who underwent a standard procedure were selected for matched pair analysis.

Surgical Procedure: For patients who underwent 3D MR ECIRS, holograms were overlapped on the real anatomy to guide the surgeon during percutaneous puncture. In the standard group, the procedures were only guided by ultrasound and fluoroscopy.

Measurements: Differences in preoperative and postoperative patient characteristics between the groups were tested using a χ test and a Kruskal-Wallis test for categorical and continuous variables, respectively. Results are reported as the median and interquartile range for continuous variables and as the frequency and percentage for categorical variables.

Results And Limitations: Ten patients underwent 3D MR ECIRS. In all cases, the inferior calyx was punctured correctly, as planned using the overlapping hologram. The median puncture and radiation exposure times were 27 min and 120 s, respectively. No intraoperative or major postoperative complications occurred. Matched pair analysis with the standard ECIRS group revealed a significantly shorter radiation exposure time for the 3D MR group (p < 0.001) even though the puncture time was longer in comparison to the standard group (p < 0.001). Finally, use of 3D MR led to a higher success rate for renal puncture at the first attempt (100% vs 50%; p = 0.032). The main limitations of the study are the small sample size and manual overlapping of the rigid hologram models.

Conclusions: Our experience demonstrates that 3D MR guidance for renal puncture is feasible and safe. The procedure proved to be effective, with the inferior calyx correctly punctured in all cases, and was associated with a low intraoperative radiation exposure time because of the MR guidance.

Patient Summary: Three-dimensional virtual models visualized as holograms and intraoperatively overlapped on the patient's real anatomy seem to be a valid new tool for guiding puncture of the kidney through the skin for minimally invasive treatment.
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November 2021

New Ultra-minimally Invasive Surgical Treatment for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Systematic Review and Analysis of Comparative Outcomes.

Eur Urol Open Sci 2021 Nov 22;33:28-41. Epub 2021 Sep 22.

Department of Oncology, Division of Urology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Context: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) associated with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) is diagnosed in up to 80% of men during their lifetime. Several novel ultra-minimally invasive surgical treatments (uMISTs) for BPH/benign prostatic obstruction (BPO) have become available over the past 5 yr.

Objective: To evaluate the perioperative and functional outcomes of recently introduced uMISTs for BPH/BPO, including Urolift, Rezūm, temporary implantable nitinol device, prostatic artery embolization (PAE), and intraprostatic injection.

Evidence Acquisition: A systematic literature search was conducted in December 2020 using Medline (via PubMed), Embase (via Ovid), Scopus, and Web of Science (registered on PROSPERO as CRD42021225014). The search strategy used PICO criteria and article selection was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. The risk of bias and the quality of the articles included were assessed. A dedicated data extraction form was used to collect the data of interest. Pooled and cumulative analyses were performed to compare perioperative and functional outcomes between study groups. A random-effects model using the DerSimonian and Laird method was used to evaluate heterogeneity. Stata version 15.0 software was used for all statistical analyses.

Evidence Synthesis: The initial electronic search identified 3978 papers, of which 48 ultimately met the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Pooled analysis revealed a uMIST benefit in terms of International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS; -9.81 points, 95% confidence interval [CI] -11.37 to -8.25 at 1 mo; -13.13 points, 95% CI -14.98 to -11.64 at 12 mo), maximum flow rate (from +3.66 ml/s, 95% CI 2.8-4.5 to +4.14 ml/s, 95% CI 0.72-7.56 at 12 mo), and postvoid residual volume (-10.10 ml, 95% CI -27.90 to 7.71 at 12 mo). No negative impact was observed on scores for the International Index of Erectile Function-5, Male Sexual Health Questionnaire-Ejaculatory Dysfunction bother and function scales (overall postintervention change in pooled median score of 1.88, 95% CI 1.34-2.42 at the start of follow-up; and 1.04, 95% CI 0.28-1.8 after 1 yr), or the IPSS-Quality of Life questionnaire.

Conclusions: Novel uMISTs can yield fast and effective relief of LUTS without affecting patient quality of life. Only Rezūm, UroLift, and PAE had a minimal impact on patients' sexual function with respect to baseline, especially regarding preservation of ejaculation.

Patient Summary: We reviewed outcomes for recently introduced ultra-minimally invasive surgical treatments for patients with lower urinary tract symptoms caused by benign prostate enlargement or obstruction. The evidence suggests that these novel techniques are beneficial in terms of controlling symptoms while preserving sexual function.

Take Home  Message: Novel ultra-minimally invasive treatments can yield fast and effective relief of lower urinary tract symptoms without affecting a patient's quality of life.
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November 2021

Artificial intelligence for target prostate biopsy outcomes prediction the potential application of fuzzy logic.

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 2021 Sep 3. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Oncology, Division of Urology, University of Turin, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Background: In current precision prostate cancer (PCa) surgery era the identification of the best patients candidate for prostate biopsy still remains an open issue. The aim of this study was to evaluate if the prostate target biopsy (TB) outcomes could be predicted by using artificial intelligence approach based on a set of clinical pre-biopsy.

Methods: Pre-biopsy characteristics in terms of PSA, PSA density, digital rectal examination (DRE), previous prostate biopsies, number of suspicious lesions at mp-MRI, lesion volume, lesion location, and Pi-Rads score were extracted from our prospectively maintained TB database from March 2014 to December 2019. Our approach is based on Fuzzy logic and associative rules mining, with the aim to predict TB outcomes.

Results: A total of 1448 patients were included. Using the Frequent-Pattern growth algorithm we extracted 875 rules and used to build the fuzzy classifier. 963 subjects were classified whereas for the remaining 484 subjects were not classified since no rules matched with their input variables. Analyzing the classified subjects we obtained a specificity of 59.2% and sensitivity of 90.8% with a negative and the positive predictive values of 81.3% and 76.6%, respectively. In particular, focusing on ISUP ≥ 3 PCa, our model is able to correctly predict the biopsy outcomes in 98.1% of the cases.

Conclusions: In this study we demonstrated that the possibility to look at several pre-biopsy variables simultaneously with artificial intelligence algorithms can improve the prediction of TB outcomes, outclassing the performance of PSA, its derivates and MRI alone.
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September 2021

Intracorporeal Versus Extracorporeal Robot-assisted Kidney Autotransplantation: Experience of the ERUS RAKT Working Group.

Eur Urol 2021 Aug 12. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

Department of Urology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.

Background: Kidney autotransplantation is a useful technique to be reserved for cases in which kidney function is compromised by a complex anatomical configuration, such as long ureteral strictures and renal vascular anomalies not suitable for in situ reconstruction. Robot-assisted kidney autotransplantation (RAKAT) presents a novel, minimally invasive, and highly accurate approach.

Objective: The aim of this study is to present the largest cohort of patients who underwent either extracorporeal (eRAKAT) or intracorporeal (iRAKAT) RAKAT, to confirm safety and feasibility and to compare the two approaches.

Design, Setting, And Participants: We retrospectively analyzed prospectively followed patients undergoing eRAKAT and totally intracorporeal RAKAT in a total of three institutions.

Surgical Procedure: Extracorporeal RAKAT and iRAKAT.

Measurements: Surgical and functional outcomes of patients subjected to eRAKAT and iRAKAT were measured.

Results And Limitations: Between January 2017 and February 2021, 29 patients underwent RAKAT: 15 eRAKAT and 14 iRAKAT. No statistical difference in the preoperative data was recorded. The analysis of intraoperative variables showed a statistically significant difference between eRAKAT and iRAKAT in cold ischemia time (median [interquartile range {IQR}]: 151 [125-199] vs 27.5 [20-55]; p <  0.001) and total ischemia time (median [IQR]: 196.2 [182-241] vs 81.5 [73-88]; p <  0.001). However, faster renal function recovery in favor of eRAKAT was observed during the first 90 d, with comparable renal function at 1 yr. The 90-d Clavien-Dindo >2 complications were 13.8%. It is important to stress that RAKAT, and above all iRAKAT, should be performed by surgeons with experience in robotic renal, vascular, and transplant surgery.

Conclusions: Both eRAKAT and iRAKAT represent promising minimally invasive techniques in selected cases with acceptable ischemia time and comparable long-term operative outcomes.

Patient Summary: In selected patients, both extra- and intracorporeal robot-assisted kidney autotransplantation represent valid alternatives in case of long ureteral strictures and renal vascular anomalies not suitable for in situ reconstruction.
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August 2021

Beyond the Learning Curve of Prostate MRI/TRUS Target Fusion Biopsy after More than 1000 Procedures.

Urology 2021 Sep 2;155:39-45. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Department of Oncology, Division of Urology, University of Turin, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Turin, 10043.

Objective: To evaluate the learning curve (LC) of two urology residents in the execution of fusion biopsy (FB) in terms of overall prostate cancer (PCa) and clinically significant (cs) PCa detection rate (DR) and according to different characteristics of the lesions on MRI MATERIAL AND METHODS: We analyzed data from our prospective maintained FB database between January 2015 and December 2019. FB was performed using the BioJet fusion system (D&K Technologies, Barum, Germany) with a transrectal or transperineal approach. An ANOVA test was used to evaluate the homogeneity of our cohort. Multivariable linear and logistic regression analysis were used to evaluate the relationship between operator experience and DR for PCa and csPCa. Then, the postprocedural complication rate trend was evaluated.

Results: 1005 patients were included. The overall DR of PCa was 61.2% (615/1005) [IC 0.58 - 0.64]; whilst DR for csPCA was 54.6% (549/1005) [IC 0.51 - 0.57]. Operator experience does not seem to influence the DR of overall PCa and csPCa; whilst for lesions <8 mm in diameter, PCa and csPCa DR increased significantly with operator experience (P = 0.048 and P = 0.038, respectively). Postprocedural complications remained stable during the whole study period (P = 0.75).

Conclusion: A standardized FB approach turned out to be feasible, safe, and effective since the beginning of the residents' LC. PCa and csPCa DR remained stable, at 60% and 55% respectively, after more than 1,000 biopsies. However, for lesions smaller than 8 mm, at least 100 FB of experience is needed to correctly sample the area.
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September 2021

Step-by-step Development of a Cold Ischemia Device for Open and Robotic-assisted Renal Transplantation.

Eur Urol 2021 Dec 28;80(6):738-745. Epub 2021 May 28.

Department of Urology, Fundació Puigvert, Autonoma University of Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Kidney transplantation (KT) is the best renal replacement treatment. The rewarming time is associated with ischemia/reperfusion damage. In both the open (open KT [OKT]) and the robotic (robotic-assisted KT [RAKT]) approaches, ice slush is used to maintain graft temperature (T°) below 20 °C. This may result in nonhomogeneous graft T° maintenance and, particularly during RAKT where the graft is completely inside the abdominal cavity, rises concerns regarding systemic hypothermia.

Objective: To design a cold ischemia device (CID) to maintain a constant and homogeneous low graft T° during surgery.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In IDEAL phase 0, a CID was developed and tested to determine its cooling effect on the kidney inside a closed system at 37.5 °C, by comparing it with kidney alone versus a gauze-jacket filled with ice slush. The CID was evaluated in pigs undergoing OKT and RAKT, assessing feasibility and adverse reactions. In IDEAL phase 1, the CID was tested in human OKT and RAKT.

Surgical Procedure: OKT and RAKT.

Measurements: In all phases, T° was evaluated at scheduled time points.

Results And Limitations: In the preliminary tests of IDEAL phase 0, the CID was able to maintain a low graft T° and superiority to other groups (p =  0.002). In the in vivo animal model, the CID maintained a low and constant graft T° in OKT (n = 3) and RAKT (n = 3), with a mean T° at 50 min of 10.8 °C and 14.9 °C, respectively. IDEAL phase 1 demonstrated feasibility of both approaches (OKT, n = 2 and RAKT, n = 3) using the CID, and graft T° never exceeded 20 °C (mean T°: OKT 15.7 °C vs RAKT 18.3 °C). No complications were recorded. The main limitation consists in the low number of participants.

Conclusions: The CID assured a constant low graft T° during rewarming time, in both OKT and RAKT.

Patient Summary: A cold ischemia device (CID) is the first step toward a feasible, safe, and reproducible method to maintain a low graft temperature during surgery. The employment of a CID may optimize the functional outcomes.
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December 2021

Comparison between minimally-invasive partial and radical nephrectomy for the treatment of clinical T2 renal masses: results of a 10-year study in a tertiary care center.

Minerva Urol Nephrol 2021 Aug 22;73(4):509-517. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Division of Urology, Department of Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Turin, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Background: Even if partial nephrectomy (PN) is nowadays considered the standard for managing cT1 renal masses, its role in the management of cT2 kidney tumors is controversial. We aimed to compare oncologic and functional outcomes of minimally invasive radical nephrectomy (RN) and PN in cT2 renal masses.

Methods: Patients with cT2 renal masses underwent minimally-invasive PN or RN performed by a highly experienced single surgeon from 2009 to 2019 were considered. Demographic, perioperative and functional variables were compared. Cumulative incidence plot and competing risks regression (CRR) models were used to test differences in 5-year cancer-specific mortality (CSM) and 5-year other-cause mortality (OCM) rates. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression model was used to test differences in 5-year progression free survival (PFS) rates.

Results: Overall, 52 PN vs. 64 RN patients were identified. Relative to RN, PN patients recorded higher rates of complications (25% vs. 7.8%, P=0.02) but lower upstaging rate (≥pT3a 64.1% vs. 19.2%, P<0.0001). Functional outcomes were in favor of PN (all P<0.001). No differences were recorded between 5-year CSM and OCM according to nephrectomy type. At CRR models, older age and upstaging were independent predictors of 5-year OCM and CSM, respectively (all P<0.01). Finally, only upstaging, high grade tumors and presence of positive surgical margins were identified as independent predictors of 5-year PFS (all P<0.01).

Conclusions: In experienced hands the treatment of cT2 renal neoplasms with minimally-invasive PN is feasible, providing perioperative and oncological safety profiles comparable to RN, with advantages in terms of functional outcomes.
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August 2021

3D imaging technologies in minimally-invasive kidney and prostate cancer surgery: which is the urologists' perception?

Minerva Urol Nephrol 2021 Mar 26. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Division of Urology, Departmet of Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Background: Many specific 3D imaging technologies are currently available for the practising urologists. Aim of the study was to assess their perception about different 3D imaging tools in the field of prostate and kidney cancer surgery.

Methods: All the attendees of the 8th Techno-Urology-Meeting were asked to fill a questionnaire regarding the role of 3D virtual reconstruction PDFs, 3D printing models, Augmented-Reality (AR) and mixed reality technology in the setting of surgical planning, patient counselling, intraoperative guidance and training for kidney and prostate cancer surgery; Moreover the different materials used for 3D printing were compared to assess the most suitable in reproducing the organ and tumor features, as well as their estimated cost and production time.

Results: The population consisted of 180 attendees. Overall, AR was the preferred option for intraoperative guidance and training, in both prostate (55% and 38.3%) and kidney cancer surgery (58.3% and 40%). HoloLens was perceived as the best imaging technology for the surgical planning (50% for prostate and 60% for kidney), whereas printed models for patients counselling (66.7% for prostate and 61.7% for kidney). Fused deposition models were deemed as the best printing technology in representing kidney anatomy and renal tumor location (40%), while silicon (46.7%) and Polyjet (36.7%) models for prostate anatomy and cancer location. Finally, attendees demonstrated poor knowledge of 3D printing costs and production times.

Conclusions: Our study shows the perceptions of a heterogeneous surrogate of practising urologists about the role and potential applications of 3D imaging technologies in daily surgical practice.
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March 2021

Anastomosis quality score during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy: a new simple tool to maximize postoperative management.

World J Urol 2021 Aug 3;39(8):2921-2928. Epub 2021 Jan 3.

Division of Urology, Department of Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Purpose: The urethro-vesical anastomosis represents one of the most challenging steps of robotic prostatectomy (RARP). To maximize postoperative management, we specifically designed our anastomosis quality score (AQS), based on the intraoperative characteristics of the urethra and bladder neck.

Methods: This is a prospective study, conducted from April 2019 to March 2020. All the patients were classified into three different AQS categories (low, intermediate, high) based on the quality of the anastomosis. The postoperative management was modulated accordingly.

Results: We enrolled 333 patients. According to AQS, no differences were recorded in intraoperative complications (p = 0.9). Median hospital stay and catheterization time were longer in AQS 1 group (p < 0.001). Additionally, the occurrence of postoperative complication was higher in AQS 1 category (p = 0.002) but, when focusing on the complications related to the quality of the anastomosis, no differences were found neither for acute urinary retention (p = 0.12) nor urine leakage (p = 0.11). Finally, concerning the continence recovery, no significant differences were found among the three groups for each time point. The highest potency recovery rate at one month of follow-up was recorded in AQS 3 category (p = 0. 03).

Conclusion: The AQS proposed revealed to be a valid too to intraoperatively categorize patients who underwent RARP on the basis of the urethral and bladder neck features. The modulated postoperative management for each specific score category allowed to limit the occurrence of complications and to maximize the functional outcomes.
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August 2021

Implementing telemedicine for the management of benign urologic conditions: a single centre experience in Italy.

World J Urol 2021 Aug 1;39(8):3109-3115. Epub 2021 Jan 1.

Division of Urology, Department of Oncology, School of Medicine, San Luigi Hospital, University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Purpose: To assess the use of telemedicine with phone-call visits as a practical tool to follow-up with patients affected by urological benign diseases, whose clinic visits had been cancelled during the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Patients were contacted via phone-call and a specific questionnaire was administered to evaluate the health status of these patients and to identify those who needed an "in-person" ambulatory visit due to the worsening of their condition. Secondarily, the patients' perception of a potential shift towards a "telemedicine" approach to the management of their condition and to indirectly evaluate their desire to return to "in-person" clinic visits.

Results: 607 were contacted by phone-call. 87.5% (531/607) of the cases showed stability of the symptoms so no clinic in-person or emergency visits were needed. 81.5% (495/607) of patients were more concerned about the risk of contagion than their urological condition. The median score for phone visit comprehensibility and ease of communication of exams was 5/5; whilst patients' perception of phone visits' usefulness was scored 4/5. 53% (322/607) of the interviewees didn't own the basic supports required to be able to perform a real telemedicine consult according to the required standards.

Conclusion: Telemedicine approach limits the number of unnecessary accesses to medical facilities and represents an important tool for the limitation of the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. However, infrastructures, health workers and patients should reach out to a computerization process to allow a wider diffusion of more advanced forms of telemedicine, such as televisit.
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August 2021

Single-port robot-assisted radical prostatectomy: a systematic review and pooled analysis of the preliminary experiences.

BJU Int 2020 07 1;126(1):55-64. Epub 2020 May 1.

Department of Urology, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Objective: To summarize the clinical experiences with single-port (SP) robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) reported in the literature and to describe the peri-operative and short-term outcomes of this procedure.

Material And Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed in December 2019 using Medline (via PubMed), Embase (via Ovid), Cochrane databases, Scopus and Web of Science (PROSPERO registry number 164129). All studies that reported intra- and peri-operative data on SP-RARP were included. Cadaveric series and perineal or partial prostatectomy series were excluded.

Results: The pooled mean operating time, estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay and catheterization time were 190.55 min, 198.4 mL, 1.86 days and 8.21 days, respectively. The pooled mean number of lymph nodes removed was 8.33, and the pooled rate of positive surgical margins was 33%. The pooled minor complication rate was 15%. Only one urinary leakage and one major complication (transient ischaemic attack) were recorded. Regarding functional outcomes, pooled continence and potency rates at 12 weeks were 55% and 42%, respectively.

Conclusions: The present analysis confirms that SP-RARP is safe and feasible. This novel robotic platform resulted in similar intra-operative and peri-operative outcomes to those obtained with the standard multiport da Vinci system. The advantages of single incision can be translated into a preservation of the patient's body image and self-esteem and cosmesis, which have a great impact on a patient's quality of life.
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July 2020

Artificial intelligence and neural networks in urology: current clinical applications.

Minerva Urol Nefrol 2020 Feb 12;72(1):49-57. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Department of Urology, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, University of Turin, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Introduction: As we enter the era of "big data," an increasing amount of complex health-care data will become available. These data are often redundant, "noisy," and characterized by wide variability. In order to offer a precise and transversal view of a clinical scenario the artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning (ML) algorithms and Artificial neuron networks (ANNs) process were adopted, with a promising wide diffusion in the near future. The present work aims to provide a comprehensive and critical overview of the current and potential applications of AI and ANNs in urology.

Evidence Acquisition: A non-systematic review of the literature was performed by screening Medline, PubMed, the Cochrane Database, and Embase to detect pertinent studies regarding the application of AI and ANN in Urology.

Evidence Synthesis: The main application of AI in urology is the field of genitourinary cancers. Focusing on prostate cancer, AI was applied for the prediction of prostate biopsy results. For bladder cancer, the prediction of recurrence-free probability and diagnostic evaluation were analysed with ML algorithms. For kidney and testis cancer, anecdotal experiences were reported for staging and prediction of diseases recurrence. More recently, AI has been applied in non-oncological diseases like stones and functional urology.

Conclusions: AI technologies are growing their role in health care; but, up to now, their "real-life" implementation remains limited. However, in the near future, the potential of AI-driven era could change the clinical practice in Urology, improving overall patient outcomes.
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February 2020

Three-dimensional Elastic Augmented-reality Robot-assisted Radical Prostatectomy Using Hyperaccuracy Three-dimensional Reconstruction Technology: A Step Further in the Identification of Capsular Involvement.

Eur Urol 2019 10 9;76(4):505-514. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Department of Urology, "San Luigi Gonzaga" Hospital, University of Turin, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Background: In prostate cancer (PCa) surgical procedures, in order to maximize potency recovery, a nerve-sparing (NS) procedure is preferred. However, cancer abutting or focally extending beyond the prostate capsule increases the risk of a positive surgical margin.

Objective: To evaluate the accuracy of our new three-dimensional (3D) elastic augmented-reality (AR) system in identifying capsular involvement (CI) location of PCa during the NS phase of robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP). Secondarily, the accuracy of this technology was compared with two-dimensional (2D)-based cognitive procedures.

Design, Setting, And Participants: A prospective study, enrolling 40 patients with PCa undergoing RARP at our center, from May to October 2018.

Surgical Procedure: Patients underwent 3D AR RARP or, in case of unavailability of this technology, 2D cognitive RARP. In all patients, total anatomical reconstruction was used.

Measurements: Clinical data were collected. In order to compare the two groups, nonparametric Mann-Whitney and chi-square tests were performed. A metallic clip was placed at the level of suspicious CI on the basis of images given by the 3D AR or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) report. The pathological analysis evaluated the presence of tumor at the level of the clip.

Results And Limitations: Twenty patients were enrolled in each group. Focusing on the 3D AR group at macroscopic evaluation, the metallic clip was placed at the tumor and capsular bulging in all cases. At microscopic assessment, cancer presence was confirmed in the suspicious area in 95.4% of the cases. Moreover, CI was correctly identified in 100.0% of the cases, thanks to the 3D image overlap. These results were compared with the 2D MRI cognitive group, showing, at microscopic analysis, statistically significant superiority of the 3D AR group in CI detection during the NS phase (100% vs 47.0%; p<0.05). The main limitation of this technique is that the segmentation and overlapping of the images are performed manually.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that, with the introduction of the elastic 3D virtual models, prostate deformation is correctly simulated during surgery and lesion location is correctly identified, even in dynamic reality with a subsequent potential reduction of positive surgical margin rate and, in the meantime, maximization of functional outcomes.

Patient Summary: On the basis of our findings, the three-dimensional elastic augmented-reality technology seems to help the surgeon in lesion location identification even in a dynamic phase of the intervention, optimizing the oncological outcomes.
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October 2019

Augmented-reality robot-assisted radical prostatectomy using hyper-accuracy three-dimensional reconstruction (HA3D™) technology: a radiological and pathological study.

BJU Int 2019 05 19;123(5):834-845. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Department of Urology, 'San Luigi Gonzaga' Hospital, Orbassano (Turin), Italy.

Objectives: To assess the use of hyper-accuracy three-dimensional (HA3D™; MEDICS, Moncalieri, Turin, Italy) reconstruction based on multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) and superimposed imaging during augmented-reality robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (AR-RARP).

Patients And Methods: Patients with prostate cancer (clinical stages cT1-3, cN0, cM0) undergoing RARP at our Centre, from June 2017 to April 2018, were enrolled. In all cases, cancer was diagnosed with targeted biopsy at the level of index lesion based on high-resolution (1-mm slices) mpMRI. HA3D reconstruction was created by dedicated software to obtain the 3D virtual model of the prostate and surrounding structures. A specific system was used to overlay virtual data on the endoscopic video displayed by the remote da Vinci® surgical console (Intuitive Surgical Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, USA), and the virtual images were superimposed by the surgeon by the means of the TilePro™ multi-input display technology (Intuitive Surgical Inc.). The AR technology was used in four standardised key steps during RARP. The procedures were modulated differently in cases of prostate cancer without extracapsular extension (ECE) at mpMRI (Group A) or in cases of prostate cancer with ECE (Group B) at mpMRI. In Group A, the virtual image of the prostate was overlaid on the endoscopic view and the intraprostatic lesion was marked on the prostate surface by a metallic clip at the level of the suspicious lesion as identified by the 3D virtual AR image. In Group B, the same step was performed; moreover, a metallic clip was placed at the level of the suspicious ECE on the neurovascular bundles (NVBs) according to the virtual images. Finally, selective biopsies were taken from the NVBs at this level, and then, the entire NVBs were removed for final pathological examination, according to standard clinical indications. For Group A, the pathologist performed a targeted needle biopsy at the level of the metallic clip on the surface of prostate before the sample reduction. For Group B, the presence of tumour was evaluated during the reduction phase, at the level of metallic clip on the prostate surface and at the level of NVBs, sent separately. Finally, an image 3D scanner (Kinect, Microsoft) was used to perform a dimensional comparison between the mpMRI-based 3D virtual reconstruction and the whole-mount specimen.

Results: In all, 30 patients were enrolled in the present study, 11 (36.6%) included in Group A and 19 (63.4%) in Group B. In all cases (30/30), final pathology confirmed the location of the index lesion, as cancer was found at the level of the metallic clip. The suspected ECE was confirmed on final pathology in 15/19 cases (79%). The AR-guided selective biopsies at the level of the NVBs confirmed the ECE location, with 11/15 (73.3%) biopsies at the level of NVBs positive for cancer. The mismatch between the 3D virtual reconstruction and the prostate 3D scanning based on the whole-mount specimen was <3 mm in >85% of the gland.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that a HA3D virtual reconstruction of the prostate based on mpMRI data and real-time superimposed imaging allow performance of an effective AR-RARP. Potentially, this approach translates into better outcomes, as the surgeon can tailor the procedure for each patient.
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May 2019