Automated surgical step recognition in transurethral bladder tumor resection using artificial intelligence: transfer learning across surgical modalities.

Automated surgical step recognition (SSR) using AI has been a catalyst in the "digitization" of surgery. However, progress has been limited to laparoscopy, with relatively few SSR tools in endoscopic surgery. This study aimed to create a SSR model for transurethral resection of bladder tumors (TURBT), leveraging a novel application of transfer learning to reduce video dataset requirements.

Retrospective surgical videos of TURBT were manually annotated with the following steps of surgery: primary endoscopic evaluation, resection of bladder tumor, and surface coagulation. Manually annotated videos were then utilized to train a novel AI computer vision algorithm to perform automated video annotation of TURBT surgical video, utilizing a transfer-learning technique to pre-train on laparoscopic procedures. Accuracy of AI SSR was determined by comparison to human annotations as the reference standard.

A total of 300 full-length TURBT videos (median 23.96 min; IQR 14.13-41.31 min) were manually annotated with sequential steps of surgery. One hundred and seventy-nine videos served as a training dataset for algorithm development, 44 for internal validation, and 77 as a separate test cohort for evaluating algorithm accuracy. Overall accuracy of AI video analysis was 89.6%. Model accuracy was highest for the primary endoscopic evaluation step (98.2%) and lowest for the surface coagulation step (82.7%).

We developed a fully automated computer vision algorithm for high-accuracy annotation of TURBT surgical videos. This represents the first application of transfer-learning from laparoscopy-based computer vision models into surgical endoscopy, demonstrating the promise of this approach in adapting to new procedure types.

Frontiers in artificial intelligence. 2024 Mar 07*** epublish ***

Ekamjit S Deol, Matthew K Tollefson, Alenka Antolin, Maya Zohar, Omri Bar, Danielle Ben-Ayoun, Lance A Mynderse, Derek J Lomas, Ross A Avant, Adam R Miller, Daniel S Elliott, Stephen A Boorjian, Tamir Wolf, Dotan Asselmann, Abhinav Khanna

Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, United States.,, Palo Alto, CA, United States.