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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Urology 1/2015

Evaluation of the learning curve for thulium laser enucleation of the prostate with the aid of a simulator tool but without tutoring: comparison of two surgeons with different levels of endoscopic experience

BMC Urology > Ausgabe 1/2015
Giovanni Saredi, Giacomo Maria Pirola, Andrea Pacchetti, Jon Alexander Lovisolo, Giacomo Borroni, Federico Sembenini, Alberto Mario Marconi
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Authors’ contributions

GS created the conception and design of the study and analyzed and interpreted the data. GMP drafted the manuscript and worked on most of the data presented. AP and GB aided in data collection and interpretation. JAL revised the manuscript, especially improving the Discussion section. FS statistically analyzed the data. AMM supervised the overall work. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The aim of this study was to determine the learning curve for thulium laser enucleation of the prostate (ThuLEP) for two surgeons with different levels of urological endoscopic experience.


From June 2012 to August 2013, ThuLEP was performed on 100 patients in our institution. We present the results of a prospective evaluation during which we analyzed data related to the learning curves for two surgeons of different levels of experience.


The prostatic adenoma volumes ranged from 30 to 130 mL (average 61.2 mL). Surgeons A and B performed 48 and 52 operations, respectively. Six months after surgery, all patients were evaluated with the International Prostate Symptom Score questionnaire, uroflowmetry, and prostate-specific antigen test. Introduced in 2010, ThuLEP consists of blunt enucleation of the prostatic apex and lobes using the sheath of the resectoscope. This maneuver allows clearer visualization of the enucleation plane and precise identification of the prostatic capsule. These conditions permit total resection of the prostatic adenoma and coagulation of small penetrating vessels, thereby reducing the laser emission time. Most of the complications in this series were encountered during morcellation, which in some cases was performed under poor vision because of venous bleeding due to surgical perforation of the capsule during enucleation.


Based on this analysis, we concluded that it is feasible for laser-naive urologists with endoscopic experience to learn to perform ThuLEP without tutoring. Those statements still require further validation in larger multicentric study cohort by several surgeon. The main novelty during the learning process was the use of a simulator that faithfully reproduced all of the surgical steps in prostates of various shapes and volumes.
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