MUSC Advanced Endoscopy Update 2011: Dr Safa Al-Shamma

The Course

The venue for the course was spacious and comfortable with bountiful refreshments available. The faculty was a who’s who of international stars in endoscopy. All were experts in the field at the top of their game. All lectures were state of the art with excellent updates on the relevant topics. Of the most impressive was Prof Nagi from Hyderabbad. He gave an authoritative update on ERCP and demonstrated some outstanding work done in the poorest rural areas in India. The majority of the work was free and depended on donations.

Interactive Sessions

We broke into smaller groups for discussions ranging from training issues to cutting edge endoscopy. This was very interactive and allowed for direct questioning of experts. These sessions were especially interesting and of excellent learning value.

Live Endoscopy

The highlight was probably seeing Dr Cotton perform his last ERCP via live feed. Of course he’s probably not done an ERCP in some time as he mainly observes trainees and advises but the still he made it look exceedingly easy and effortless. So we saw history in the making, the world’s ERCP authority perform his last procedure (well he had another one scheduled but we were getting tight on time, so technically it was his penultimate ERCP.)

We also watched a new endoscopic oesophageal myotomy technique for achalasia where a submucosal tract is formed within the oesophagus and then the inner muscle layers of the oesophagus divided. Be careful not to burn too deep as you may perforate through the deeper muscle layers! I am not sure if and when this procedure will be introduced into the UK.


Overall, this was an excellent opportunity to attend a well organised and enjoyable course in South Carolina. I would like to thank the BSG for the opportunity but also Dr Peter Cotton for his kind generosity and all he has given over the years.