|To Infinity and Beyond! ALS 2011|
|Monday, 05 March 2012|
Mr Paras Jethwa reports from the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons’ Annual Scientific Meeting, held in Cardiff, 17 to 18 November 2011
My only previous trip to Cardiff was in 2003 as part of an organ transplant team, arriving on a cold wet evening and receiving peculiar stares from the hangers-on outside A&E. Thus, arriving this November seemed to be strangely nostalgic!
This year’s AGM was the most successful in the Association’s history, with a record number of attendees and a very progressive programme. Live operating was hosted by the Morriston Hospital, Swansea, and featured a number of advanced bariatric procedures, with the first day ending with a two-hour feature of 3D laparoscopic surgery (from the MATTU) showcasing cases including an adrenalectomy, oesophagectomy and distal pancreatectomy. Whilst, in my opinion, not as big a leap forward as normal resolution to full high definition, once everyone had become accustomed to the glasses, the 3D images became quite natural and it was easy to see how this technology could well become the standard in years to come.
The meeting was well supported by industry partners and by Mercedes Benz. Of interest was the very little emphasis, unlike in previous years, on single incision surgery devices or instruments. The tidal wave of interest in this novel technique seems to have dispersed and whilst we have the odd ripple, the surge of public demand, in the UK at least, does not seem to have materialised.
After an excellent day of live operating from Swansea and a two-hour session about 3D surgery, the Conference Dinner was held in the National Museum of Wales. The food was excellent and our after dinner speaker, Robert Croft kept the audience spell-bound with his tales of derring-do on the cricket pitch.
“After a day of live operating dominated by bariatric surgery, it is not surprising that our two keynote lectures also covered bariatrics”
After a day of live operating dominated by bariatric surgery, it is not surprising that our two keynote lectures also covered bariatrics. Christine Ren-Fielding spoke on new horizons in surgery for morbid obesity, giving us a fascinating insight into the current state of play and new interventions just over the horizon. George Fielding debated with Peter Sedman on whether limited resources for weight loss surgery were best spent on laparoscopic gastric banding and the audience were split 50/50 at the end of a fascinating debate.
Presentations in lecture, poster and DVD format were to a very high standard. The winner of the 2011 David Dunn Medal for best oral presentation was Mr E MacDonald for the paper Laparoscopic versus Open Resection for Colorectal Cancer: Early outcome data from a large regional database’. The 2011 ALS Best Laparoscopic DVD Prize was won by Mr N Carter for Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome – Laparoscopic duodenojejunostomy. Finally, the 2011 ALS Best Laparoscopic Poster Prize went to Mr R Maitra for the presentation Medium-Term Results of Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery from a National Training Centre.
At the end of the Annual Scientific Meeting the Presidency was handed over to Professor Tim Rockall of Guildford and delegates were reminded that next year's meeting is in Cork, Ireland. We hope to see you there.
Mr Paras Jethwa, Newsletter Editor