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Indian Association of Gastrointestinal Endo Surgeons (IAGES) collaborates with technology leaders in robotic surgery; conducts national conference in Coimbatore

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• IAGES to focus on upskilling and adoption of advanced Minimal Access Surgery technologies in 2023

• The three day conference had incremental training and familiarization sessions on advanced laparoscopic surgery and robotic-assisted surgery technology for general surgery practices

Coimbatore: The Indian Association of Gastrointestinal Endo Surgeons (IAGES), one of the largest surgeons’ organizations in the world, collaborated with the technology leaders in robotic-assisted surgery, to conduct their 20th national congress in Coimbatore. The three day conference started on 9th February emphasized on the necessity of upskilling healthcare professionals on advanced minimal access surgery technologies like robotic-assisted surgery. The conference also had live surgical workshops, international lectures, orations and hands on training sessions on advanced surgical technologies. In addition to this, the event also had lectures on minimal access surgery, endoscopy, colonoscopy and endo training learning centers with state of the art simulators.

The conference was led by Dr. L.P. Thangavelu, President of IAGES, Dr. Ashwin Thangavelu- Organizing Secretary and Dr. Nalla G Palaniswami- Chief Patron and Chairman, Kovai Medical College.

Speaking at the event, Dr. L.P. Thangavelu said, “It is with extreme pride that we gather here at the 20th National Congress of IAGES. Medical technology has seen oceanic advancements in the past decade and it is a privilege to witness and be a part of this journey. This year, we are focusing more on new-age MAS (minimal access surgery) technologies like robotic-assisted surgery for general surgery practices. While we accelerate into a future of better healthcare, it is also important that we focus on upskilling young surgeons to the rapidly dynamic technologies that arise around us. We had exclusive sessions for young surgeons across the world to share their experience, and to learn from others’ experiences.”

Adding to this, Dr Vivek Bindal, Head of Department, Institute of Minimal Access, Bariatric and Robotic Surgery at Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, said “Platforms like these enable surgeons like us to discuss and explore newer surgical technologies. While we focus on adoption of novel technologies like robotic-assisted surgery, we also need to understand how to increase their accessibility across the country. Disseminating the skills and knowledge about robotic surgery in a structured manner is very important to enable safe robotic surgery and increasing the access to robotic procedures in tier 2 and 3 cities. IAGES conducted the first ever fellowship course in robotic surgery in December 2021 in Delhi, where more than 100 surgeons were trained by leaders in the field. With more courses like these planned and to be executed, IAGES is looking at training surgeons not just from India, but from other countries as well. As an RAS surgeon, who has been using one of the latest surgical robots, da Vinci, I can confidently say that this will eventually help in extending the benefits of robotic surgery to more people, which includes less blood loss, reduced pain, minimum hospital stay etc.”

“At IAGES our aim continues to be the development of the surgical ecosystem in the country, and conferences like these encourage discussion and learning to do so. Alongside, there is a need for collaborative efforts by surgeons, manufacturers of RAS technology and the Government to make robotic-assisted surgery more accessible and affordable in India. Providing more support to the technology providers in terms of tax deductions, R&D etc., coupled with efforts by hospitals and the surgeons, will enhance the adoption of RAS technology, and with the rise in adoption, the cost per surgery will also reduce. This will eventually benefit the poor, and people from remote areas, as it will improve both accessibility and affordability of robotic-assisted surgery in India,” Dr. Thangavelu added.

The organization has around 10,000 members and has already trained over 7,000 surgeons in Laparoscopic surgery through FIAGES, their flagship laparoscopic course. Apart from this they have delivered continued training through courses like EFIAGES (endoscopy and colonoscopy training), FALS (courses on subspecialties) and FAGIE (advanced endoscopy course).
During the conference, IAGES offered multiple grants as a part of their academic initiatives and awarded the six best presentations at the conference with a cash prize of INR 1 lakh each. Along with that, more than 20 young surgeons were awarded for their research, publications, paper presentations and travelling fellowships.

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