Surgical endoscopy is the future

One of the main conclusions drawn from the two days of the symposium on “Lisbon Endoscopy – III Endoscopy Course” is that the days of diagnostic endoscopy 'only' are numbered. The path is therapy and surgery.

Besides the live procedures, including the new technique known as ‘POEM’, the second day of the symposium on “Lisbon Endoscopy – III Endoscopy”, incorporated in Leaping Forward – Lisbon International Clinical Congress, pointed out some of the future paths of digestive endoscopy, heading towards the increasingly complex procedures.

The highlight of the day was the afternoon talks, when Dutch gastroenterologist Arjan Bredenoord, researcher and professor at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, explained that the treatment of achalasia (failure of the smooth muscle layer of the esophagus to relax, preventing food from reaching the stomach), is aggravated by symptom relapse. Consequently the ‘POEM’ technique was developed, which means endoscopic myotomy used as an highly effective treatment, presenting less risks. Since its inception in 2010, several centres have adopted the technique and achieved good results.

The symposium ended with a talk by another Dutch speaker, Paul Fockens, professor in gastroenterology and hepatology at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam and, at present, president of the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, who addressed the future of endoscopy and shared his outlook on what may happen by 2030.

So, in his opinion the days of digestive endoscopy, as the 'only' diagnostic procedure, are numbered and this specialty will head rapidly for advanced endoscopic interventions, in fields like oncology or general surgery: "in five years time we will not need to do colonoscopies to all patients. The diagnosis may be obtained through MRI or CT”, says Paul Fockens.

As for surgical endoscopy, this physician stated that endoscopic procedures achieve the same clinical outcomes as the surgical, but it has the edge of reducing significantly admission time and costs.