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Experts on what the future holds for stone procedures

Commentary
Video

“There's going to be new techniques that we're not even aware of yet to try and break up the stones in a better fashion, but in a less invasive way for patients,” says Ben H. Chew, MD, MSc, FRCSC.

In this video, Ben H. Chew, MD, MSc, FRCSC, and Naeem Bhojani, MD, FRCSC, discuss the future of advancements for endourological procedures. Chew is a urologist at the University of British Columbia and Bhojani is an associate professor of urology at the University of Montreal.

Video Transcript:

Chew: I think there's multiple ways in trying to reduce complications. What we have now, in terms of scopes, being able to measure intrarenal pressure, we now have ureteral access sheaths, which have suction on them to try and reduce the intrarenal pressure, as well as to try and irrigate out some of the dust that we're making. And then I think there's new technologies coming, which will basically make new techniques. I think one of them is going to be robotic ureteroscopy. With the introduction of robot ureteroscopy, we're going to be able to take into account things with artificial intelligence [such as] respiration. Lasers are going to start being able to be aware of what settings we would have to do in order to maximize the efficiency. There's going to be new techniques that we're not even aware of yet to try and break up the stones in a better fashion, but in a less invasive way for patients.

Bhojani: I agree with Ben. I think AI is the future. We always think that AI is going to take over pathology, radiology, but you know, surgery is not that far behind. It's going to start off small, but it's going to be machine learning algorithms to help us be more efficient, more effective at breaking stones, and it's going to evolve from there. So I agree, I think AI is definitely the future. Looking at things more short-term, I think it's going to be as Ben mentioned, the suction devices to remove the dust out. Also, we're able to now measure intrarenal pressure, but measuring intrarenal temperature is right around the corner as well. So, with these new high-powered lasers, we're heating up tissues. We need to make sure that we're not causing any damages with these new lasers. So, I think measurement of intrarenal temperature should be around the corner as well.

This transcription has been edited for clarity.

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