Report on Fellowship to Attend 18th Annual Advanced Endoscopy Update, Florida USA

Dr Sebastian Zeki

21st - 23rd May 2013

Gastroenterologists are a pretty sociable bunch and so it was that the 10 of us who had successfully applied to the BSG travelling fellowship managed to find each other having never met before, outside the immensity of the Orlando Convention Centre at DDW 2013. The first part of the tour involved a trip to the interventional endoscopy unit at Florida Hospital. This was an impressive and extremely new unit offering all the latest in innovative advanced endoscopy together with a magnificent waiting room overlooking a pond. I was particularly impressed by our host's (Dr Robert Hawes) explanation of how innovation, rather than just an optimistic watchword, was being actively encouraged by the unit's interaction with industry and the presence of on site 'wet labs' allowing new endoscopic techniques to be experimented with. They also had an on site 3D printer to allow rapid redesign of experimental endoscopic apparatus thus speeding up the innovation.

Opportunities such as the BSG travelling fellowship are a unique way to find out not only how cutting edge endoscopy is done across the world but also to compare our own practices with US practice. With this in mind the Advanced Endoscopy Update conference started in earnest within the convention centre of our hotel. The impressive live link allowed us to see the doyens of international endoscopy (Hawes/ Tarnasky/ Bourke/ Yamamoto/ Costamagna/Deviere/ Eubanks and Maydeo amongst others) take up the mantle of what were very challenging cases and of course made them look straightforward. The cases were varied and gave a perspective of what can be achieved in endoscopic practice.

The location of the conference also added a new dimension to endoscopy being the Disney Yacht Club so the first evening was spent with 10 gastroenterologists staring at the Disney fireworks on the Boardwalk with one happy delegate who had been to Disneyland with his children more times than was normal, giving us a virtual guided tour of what the park has to offer.

The final day offered us several more interesting cases and a chance to listen to Peter Cotton discuss training and safety in ERCP- probably one of the most important lessons of the conference. Despite the seriousness of the message, the magical kingdom had clearly also had an effect as he ended his talk with a cautionary message from a hand puppet who I think was Fred the Snake from his latest children's book- a man of diverse talents.

The conference was excellent and to watch the grand masters of endoscopy was a very special pleasure. It's just a shame I can't apply to go next year.