Urology in Asia – Hong Kong


  • Sidney KH Yip

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The Hong Kong Urological Association has come a long way since a humble beginning more than 20 years ago. Currently, we have up to 100 full members, but we are also proud to have a very close collaboration with our nursing colleagues under the banner of the nursing chapter. The recent major events hosted by the association include the Asian Congress of Urology 2004 and the East Asian Society of Endourology 2007. We will be hosting the World Congress of Video Urology in 2012, in conjunction with our 25th anniversary.

Our training system is unique, as we host conjoint examinations with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Urology trainees are required to take 2 years of their 4-year-training through rotation to other hospitals and they are conferred the Urology Fellowship (F.R.C.S. Ed. Urol.), Fellowship of The College of Surgeons of Hong Kong and Fellowship of The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (Surgery) on successfully exiting their board examination.

As for clinical service, carcinoma of the prostate is currently the third commonest cancer amongst Hong Kong males, with a crude incidence of 41.5/100 000.1 Radical prostatectomy using minimally invasive techniques, including robotic assistance, has gathered tremendous interest in our practice. It is fair to say that robotic surgery is blossoming in Hong Kong as much as in the rest of the region.2 An interesting phenomenon is that all four robotic surgery systems in the public sector, serving a population of 7.8 million, are donated initially as charity, and run subsequently by receiving support from the public health care system. Robotic surgery in Hong Kong might thus carry the lowest price tag (for the patient) in the whole of Asia! In that connection, an accredited robotic surgery training centre has been established in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. As we work closely with the industry, certified training has been provided to 260 fellow colleagues locally and from China, as well as delegates from Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. We envisage that we will continue to serve our neighbours as they save on the time to travel to the USA for the necessary training, and hopefully more training facilities will be established to serve the needs of individual countries in the region in the foreseeable future.

A clinical area where Hong Kong has gained some international “recognition” is “ketamine cystitis”. This is an entity that was first discovered to be affecting a significant number of young adults taking ketamine.3 Subsequent detailed evaluation noted severe bladder dysfunction with prolonged intake; some affected individuals even progressed to develop upper tract deterioration as their urinary bladder continued to shrink in size. This is a sad finding and the local urology community has joined forces to tackle this medicosocial phenomenon that has a primary urological presentation.

Clinical research has picked up some speed recently, despite there being a small public service community and an overwhelmingly heavy clinical workload. One of our members receiving a young urologist award from the Urological Association of Asia is indeed a timely morale booster.

A major restructuring has recently been proposed for the health care finance system. Urology practices will inevitably be impacted, thus the Hong Kong urology community will need to prepare for the major change to serve our patients better.