Alessandro Fichera, MD, FACS, FASCRS

Alessandro Fichera, MD, FACS, FASCRS

On Saturday, May 6, during Digestive Disease Week®, SSAT will offer three concurrent hands-on courses at Northwestern Simulation, a 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art training facility for health-care professionals on the Chicago medical campus of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

These ticketed CME courses are divided into two-hour blocks and require a separate registration and fee. Visit www.ddw.org or meetings.ssat.com to register.

The first hands-on course, Small Bowel & Colorectal, will focus on transanal endoscopic surgery and will be offered three times throughout the day. Course director Alessandro Fichera, MD, FACS, FASCRS, professor and section chief of gastrointestinal surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, said the course presenters will discuss the set up of transanal devices and equipment, and will demonstrate how to troubleshoot technical difficulties during transanal endoscopic surgery.

“This is the third year we’ve offered this course at DDW and it gains popularity each year,” Dr. Fichera said. “Transanal excision is becoming quite popular given the push toward more organ preservation in rectal cancer and this course gives participants a general idea of what can be done with current transanal techniques and technology.”

Attendees will practice basic principles of transanal endoscopic surgery on bovine intestines and learn more complex techniques with guidance from expert faculty. The internationally renowned instructors will provide instruction in transanal endoscopic microsurgery, transanal endoscopic operation and transanal minimally invasive surgery. They will demonstrate techniques while providing tips and firsthand information not typically found in textbooks or videos, Dr. Fichera said.

Michael G. House, MD

Michael G. House, MD

Another hands-on course, HPB, will examine the use of intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in hepatopancreatobiliary surgery (HPB). Michael G. House, MD, associate professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Indiana University Health Pancreatic Cancer Program in Indianapolis, will chair the course, which will feature open and laparoscopic workstations. Instructors will use live and inanimate models to guide operative procedures of the liver, pancreas and biliary tract, including segmental liver resection, liver tumor biopsy, liver tumor ablation, pancreas duct drainage and enucleation of pancreatic tumors.

“Our internationally renowned faculty will teach attendees how to effectively use intraoperative ultrasound as a complement to preoperative imaging for HPB operations,” Dr. House said. “Ultrasound during liver surgery gives the surgeon a real-time look at the anatomic relationships between tumor boundaries and hepatic structures. However, HPB surgeons often face challenges in using IOUS and enhanced ultrasound techniques to improve laparoscopic and open liver and pancreas operations. The course will address these challenges.”

A third hands-on course, Esophagus & Gastric, will offer instruction in per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM), endoluminal bariatric procedures, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD).

Michael Ujiki, MD

Michael Ujiki, MD

“These procedures are somewhat cutting edge but they have data behind them to show that they’re effective,” said session chair Michael Ujiki, MD, chief of general surgery, director of minimally invasive surgery, director of the surgical simulation lab and clinical associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

“However, only a small percentage of endoscopists in the country are doing them,” he continued. “There are a lot of patients that are not benefitting from these less invasive and highly successful procedures — and they could be. So we chose these procedures to hopefully increase the number of clinicians that can offer them.”

Expert instructors will introduce the equipment and techniques needed to perform the procedures.

“The course will by no means be all the training someone needs to be able to do these procedures, but it is a good introduction and will give participants enough information to decide if any of these are procedures they want in their toolbox,” Dr. Ujiki said. “If so, then they can seek further, more in-depth training.”