Dr. Nicolo Buffi, an urologist at Humanitas, will be among the speakers at the European Association of Urology (EAU) annual meeting, held in Madrid from March 20th to March 24th. Dr. Buffi is part of a medical team led by Prof. Giorgio Guazzoni, Head of Urology and Andrology at Humanitas Hospital. The EAU annual meeting will be attended by more than 10,000 delegates, urologists and researchers from around the world. During his speech, scheduled on Saturday March 21st, Dr. Buffi will report the latest advances in robot-assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty.


What is robot-assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty and how is this procedure performed?

Pyeloplasty is a procedure that involves incision and removal of part of the ureter in order to treat uretero-pelvic junction obstruction. This procedure helps drain and decompress the kidney, allowing urine to pass through properly. The aim of this procedure is to eliminate symptoms and preserve organ function. An internal ureteral stent known as “Double J” is inserted through antegrade or retrograde approach and removed about one month after surgery.


What progress has been made in recent years?

In the past, pyeloplasty was performed invasively (fully opening the patient). In 1993, the laparoscopic approach was introduced and it spread as a viable treatment option for uretero-pelvic junction obstruction. The overall success rate equaled 90-95%.

The next step involved introduction of robotic instruments and minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of stenosis. In particular, the Robot Da Vinci was introduced. It ensured the same advantages as extremely precise surgery, resulting in decreased tissue trauma and reduced post-operative hospital stay. The use of robotic instruments involves a surgeon sitting at a work station with monitors and controls to move the robot’s arms. Trocars are inserted through small incisions and in turn, 3D high resolution images appear on the computer screen.


What is pyeloplasty performed with Single-Site platform?

The Single Site platform is a system which, through a single incision in the naval, allows the introduction of surgical instruments into the abdomen. The results are equivalent to those of laparoscopic surgery, but with an enhanced aesthetic effect.


To conclude, what are the advantages of robot-assisted pyeloplasty?

The advantages of robot-assisted pyeloplasty include the following:

  • Reduced hospital stay
  • Reduced post-operative pain
  • Quicker recovery
  • Superior surgical results (thanks to the magnification of the surgical field and reduction of tremors from the surgeon’s hands)