The SSAT International Relations Committee is sponsoring two international panel discussions Saturday afternoon. The first session will explore parasitic digestive diseases around the world and the second will focus on flexible endoscopy for gastrointestinal surgeons.

“These discussions will provide great insight on topics that are infrequently considered in everyday practice in the United States,” said Alberto R. Ferreres, MD, PhD, FACS, chair of the SSAT International Relations Committee. “Attendees will hear from speakers who are experts in their respective fields and who will bring international perspectives to the meeting. This is important because diversity of opinions is crucial for surgical decision making.”

Dr. Ferreres, professor of surgery and chair of the department of surgery at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, will co-moderate both sessions. He will be joined in the first session, Parasitic Digestive Diseases from the World, by former SSAT International Relations Committee Chair Ernst Klar, MD, FACS, professor and chair of surgery and director of the department of general, thoracic, vascular and transplantation surgery at the University of Rostock in Germany.

“Our international panelists have a lot of experience in a variety of parasitic diseases,” Dr. Klar said. “Hydatid disease, for example, poses a challenge because it requires special experience to choose the right approach to treatment. That could include medical treatment, puncture of the cyst, introduction of a scolicidal agent to kill the content or even surgical removal of the cyst by liver resection. There’s a whole spectrum of knowledge required to set up a good treatment strategy.”

One of the session’s panelists will discuss the management of Chagas disease affecting the esophagus and colon.

“Chagas disease is common in South America and has an interesting manifestation of dysphagia as a presenting symptom,” Dr. Klar said. “This is another one that is not so common, but does occur every now and then in the United States.”

The second SSAT international session, The GI Surgeon and Flexible Endoscopy: Whose Domain?, will examine the use of flexible endoscopy by gastrointestinal surgeons in different fields — upper and lower GI, bariatric and hepato-pancreato-biliary. The panel will also discuss how endoscopy training is approached in different parts of the world.

Dr. Klar said SSAT’s international programming at DDW® is part of the society’s effort to foster collaboration and strengthen relationships worldwide. To that end, representatives of the Indian Association of Surgical Gastroenterology have been invited to participate to increase cooperation between the two societies.

Please refer to the DDW Mobile App or the Program section in Saturday’s DDW Daily News for additional details on these and other DDW events.