The Society’s 113th annual meeting, held June 2 - 6, in San Antonio, Texas, drew record attendance of 1,519 physicians, representing 63 countries. Total meeting attendance exceeded 2,600. It was the largest ASCRS Annual Meeting attendance, except for tripartite meetings.
“It was awesome — an overwhelming success,” says Dr. Dana R. Sands, Weston, FL, Annual Meeting Program Chair. “There were 223 invited faculty with a large national and international representation of key opinion leaders. The overall theme focused on improving patient outcomes through international collaboration to develop new surgical techniques and technologies,” she adds.
Several hands-on courses were held prior to the official opening session. These were enhanced and expanded from prior years. The Transanal Endoscopy Surgery Workshop gave participants an opportunity to learn the techniques of TEM as well as TAMIS and TEO. The laparoscopic course focused on advanced dissection techniques as well as pelvic dissection. Pelvic floor physiology was incorporated into the always-popular rectal ultrasound course.
The lead off session was focused on rectal cancer. The world’s thought leaders gathered to discuss all facets of the management of this disease. There was stimulating discussion of the controversies surrounding local excision, minimally invasive treatment, and the method of delivery and timing of chemotherapy and radiation.
New technology and techniques were emphasized in various sessions. The management of fecal incontinence was highlighted with the newest approved treatment modalities, including sacral nerve stimulation and injectable agents. There were debates on the best ways to perform minimally invasive abdominal surgery, focusing on the use of robotic technology compared to traditional laparoscopy. Minimally invasive rectal surgery was addressed in another session, which examined all of the new platforms available as well as the use of NOTES.
The Past Presidents’ Perspectives Panel gave attendees a chance to see how the senior members of our society manage challenging clinical situations. The entertainment value came in the format, which was that of an oral board examination. Each past president of the ASCRS took turns presenting challenging cases to the other five past presidents on the panel. This set the stage for stimulating discussions covering topics such as complicated ileal pouches, complex anorectal disease and cancer management.
Several video sessions gave attendees an opportunity to see the intraoperative management of colorectal disease. The “nightmare at the movies” session was filled with demonstrations of how to avoid and handle operative complications in a minimally invasive fashion. The rectal cancer nuts and bolts session provided a video graphic display of the techniques utilized in all aspects of management of the disease.
The scientific sessions were of extremely high academic caliber. The program committee reviewed 648 abstracts submitted from 36 countries, and selected 91 podium presentations and 301 posters for delivery at the meeting. These presentations provided attendees with an overview of the ground breaking research in the field, both nationally and internationally.