Description: This short monograph attempts to summarize the emergence of minimally invasive techniques in urologic practice.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the current use of minimally invasive urologic options for various clinical problems, including descriptions of surgical technique and outcomes data. The objective of the monograph is certainly worthwhile, but the topic may be too broad to cover adequately in this format.
Audience: The book is written for practicing urologists and urology residents. The editors are highly renowned academic urologists who have assembled a group of very credible contributing authors.
Features: The book examines minimally invasive surgical techniques for various disease states including BPH, prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, testes/ovarian problems and benign/malignant ureteral conditions. Most useful is the review of minimally invasive techniques for renal and prostate cancer that includes an interesting discussion of the investigational use of radiofrequency energy for the ablation of prostate cancer. However, several of the chapters lack procedural and outcomes information detail. For instance, while the book covers well the use of some minimally invasive techniques for BPH (i.e., lasers), it omits a discussion of radiofrequency and microwave procedures and leaves the reader with the impression that these modalities may not fit in a discussion of BPH options. In addition, the illustrations are rudimentary; a CD-ROM with intraoperative footage would have been a useful addition. Finally, the chapters on prostate physiology and erectile dysfunction are not necessary. It is unclear why the authors felt that a separate discussion of prostate physiology was needed while renal and testis/ovarian physiology was omitted.
Assessment: In an era where practicing urologists are deluged with data on the emergence of minimally invasive techniques, the academic community has a duty to properly educate our colleagues on the clinical usefulness and proper use of theses techniques. Monographs of this type can be very important for this purpose. In particular, I hope that further work in this area includes the use of state-of-the-art digital technology to capture specific technical aspects of minimally invasive procedures so that practicing physicians can more easily incorporate new techniques into their clinical work.