Purpose: To assess whether our ureteroscopic real-time navigation system has the possibility to reduce radiation exposure and improve performance of ureteroscopic maneuvers in surgeons of various ages and experience levels. Materials and Methods: Our novel ureteroscopic navigation system used a magnetic tracking device to detect the position of the ureteroscope and display it on a three-dimensional image. We recruited 31 urologists from five institutions to perform two tasks. Task 1 consisted of finding three internal markings on the phantom calices. Task 2 consisted of identifying all calices by ureteroscopy. In both tasks, participants performed with simulated fluoroscopy first, followed by our navigation system. Accuracy rates (AR) for identification, required time (T) for completing the task, migration length (ML), and time exposed to simulated fluoroscopy were recorded. Results: The AR, T, and ML for both tasks were significantly better with the navigation system than without it (Task 1 with simulated fluoroscopy vs with navigation: AR 87.1 % vs 98.9%, P=0.003; T 355 s vs 191 s, P<0.0001; ML 4627 mm vs 2701 mm, P<0.0001. Task 2: AR 88.2% vs 96.7%, P=0.011; T 394 s vs 333 s, P=0.027; ML 5966 mm vs 5299 mm, P=0.0006). In both tasks, the participants used the simulated fluoroscopy about 20% of the total task time. Conclusions: Our navigation system, while still under development, could help surgeons of all levels to achieve better performances for ureteroscopic maneuvers compared with using fluoroscopic guidance. It also has the potential to reduce radiation exposure during fluoroscopy.
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