AAGL to showcase innovative surgical approaches, teaching tools at 40th Global Congress

Technology has radically changed the way surgeons practice medicine, and nowhere is this more evident than in the field of gynecologic endoscopy. AAGL, the oldest professional organization devoted to teaching minimally invasive treatment for women's health problems, will showcase a number of innovative surgical approaches and teaching tools among the hundreds of postgraduate courses and practice labs offered at its annual Global Congress, November 6-11, 2011 at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, FL.

According to Keith Isaacson, MD, Scientific Program Chair for the Congress, "Our mission in planning this meeting has been not only to include the basic educational material that has proven to be valuable over the past 40 years, but also to introduce novel, exciting and entertaining programs. We have put together a broad scope of programs that address the interests of minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons of all levels of experience and skill."

Among the highlights of the 40th Global Congress are:

  • Office-Based Uterine Cavity Evaluation (Live Surgery) - Wednesday, November 9, 12:05 PM. The two most commonly used office based tools for uterine cavity assessment, saline infused sonography and office hysteroscopy, will be compared in Surgical Tutorial #6 using an awake patient suffering from abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). AUB is responsible for more than 30% of gynecological visits to a physician's office. Since its etiology is highly variable, all patients benefit from the most accurate uterine cavity assessment possible. Advances in endoscopic tools not only enable office-based "see and treat" procedures but also eliminate the need for patient sedation. The course will teach clinicians how to identify patient candidates and conditions for which office hysteroscopy and saline sonography are likely to provide the most benefit.
  • Simulation Wars - Wednesday, November 9, 8:00 AM. Medical simulation has emerged as a popular and valuable training tool as technologies have advanced over the past decade, enabling medical teams to master skills, practice protocols and apply critical decision making under realistic conditions. The AAGL Congress takes this training to a new level of excitement by pitting two teams against each other to solve challenging medical scenarios in a simulated patient encounter using manikins. Team performance is judged by a panel of expert judges, and the winner is chosen by vote of the live audience.
  • Vaginal Cuff Closure and Dehiscence Prevention - Wednesday, November 9, 3:20 PM. Vaginal cuff dehiscence, once thought to be a rare occurrence, has emerged as a noteworthy complication with the increasing number of total laparoscopic and robotic hysterectomies now performed. Surgical Tutorial #8 demonstrates the newest and most effective methods of laparoscopic and robotic vaginal cuff closures from experts in the field and concludes with a discussion of practical and regulatory issues related to mesh.
  • Exploring the Deep Retroperitoneal Space - Tuesday, November 8, 11:00 AM. Surgeons who wish to perform advanced surgery in the management of pelvic pathologies will benefit from Surgical Tutorial #1, which tackles the complexities of pelvic neuro-anatomy to help surgeons avoid damage to pelvic nerves and plexuses. Although pelvic nerves are critically involved in sexuality, voiding, storage functions of the bladder and rectum, standing up, walking, and the transport of all sensitive information coming from the lower limbs and pelvis, intense study of pelvic nerves is seldom included in specialties involved in pelvic pathologies and surgeries and in neurology.
  • Technologies You May Have Missed When You Were in the O.R. - Monday, November 7, 8:00 AM. Technological advances in stem cell technologies, tissue engineering and systems biology are paving the way for future therapeutics of diseases such as endometriosis, adenomyosis and uterine fibroids. This course will update busy practicing surgeons on laboratory technologies and advances that have a profound impact on patient care.
  • Hands-on Lab for Operative Hysteroscopy and Office-Based Procedures - Monday, November 7, 1:30 PM. As more procedures move from the hospital to the office setting, many gynecologic surgeons wish to sharpen their hysteroscopic skills using the most up-to-date and innovative technologies and devices. This lab is organized so that participants can choose specific areas of interest and receive expert instruction on improving their hysteroscopic surgical competence.
  • Single Port Laparoscopy: Beyond Conventional Laparoscopy - Sunday, November 6. Didactic Course 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM and Cadaver Lab 1:30 - 5:30 PM. The ongoing evolution of surgical instrumentation and technology continues to change minimally invasive surgery, with single port laparoscopy being one of the newer advances. This day-long course and lab will teach techniques for advanced procedures such as the difficult hysterectomy, gynecologic oncology procedures and pelvic reconstructive procedures.

The 40th AAGL Congress features expanded CME opportunities through multiple live telesurgeries, surgical tutorials, cadaver labs and video challenges, in addition to the didactic sessions. The live telesurgeries will include cases of severe endometriosis, large uterine fibroids, vaginal reconstruction for MRKH syndrome and laparoscopic pelvic exenteration, among others.

A special event at the Congress is a presentation and book signing by D. Alan Johns, MD, author of The Lump: A Male Gynecologist's Journey with Breast Cancer (Wednesday, November 9, 6:45 AM). As a physician and surgeon who dedicated his life to women's health, Dr. Johns faced a shocking turnabout of perspective when he himself became a breast cancer patient. The story of his journey has been described as "fascinating," "heartfelt" and "deeply insightful" by New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo.

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