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In Current opinion in urology

PURPOSE OF REVIEW : The increasing use of robotics in urologic surgery facilitates collection of 'big data'. Machine learning enables computers to infer patterns from large datasets. This review aims to highlight recent findings and applications of machine learning in robotic-assisted urologic surgery.

RECENT FINDINGS : Machine learning has been used in surgical performance assessment and skill training, surgical candidate selection, and autonomous surgery. Autonomous segmentation and classification of surgical data have been explored, which serves as the stepping-stone for providing real-time surgical assessment and ultimately, improve surgical safety and quality. Predictive machine learning models have been created to guide appropriate surgical candidate selection, whereas intraoperative machine learning algorithms have been designed to provide 3-D augmented reality and real-time surgical margin checks. Reinforcement-learning strategies have been utilized in autonomous robotic surgery, and the combination of expert demonstrations and trial-and-error learning by the robot itself is a promising approach towards autonomy.

SUMMARY : Robot-assisted urologic surgery coupled with machine learning is a burgeoning area of study that demonstrates exciting potential. However, further validation and clinical trials are required to ensure the safety and efficacy of incorporating machine learning into surgical practice.

Ma Runzhuo, Vanstrum Erik B, Lee Ryan, Chen Jian, Hung Andrew J