Simon NgI feel honored and extremely fortunate to have won the British Journal of Surgery Prize for my free paper entitled 'Electroacupuncture for Postoperative Ileus after Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery: A Randomized Sham-Controlled Study' presented on 22 September 2011 at the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP) Annual Scientific Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Because of the reciprocity and good relationship established between the ESCP and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), I was given the great opportunity to present my work again in June 2012 at the ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the ASCRS for inviting me to participate in their meeting, and also to the ESCP for financially supporting my travel expenses.

Similar to the ESCP Annual Meeting, the 2012 ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting had assembled an excellent and academically rich scientific program that aimed to provide the participants with in-depth and up-to-date knowledge relative to the treatment of colorectal diseases with emphasis on patient care, teaching, and research. I attended many of the scientific sessions relating to minimal access/robotic rectal surgery and multidisciplinary treatment for rectal cancer, which are primarily my main clinical and research interests. One of my favorite sessions was the symposium on 'Advances and Challenges in the Management of Rectal Cancer'. The lectures given by the panel of world experts (many of them are Europeans!) including Professor Bill Heald (lecture on total mesorectal excision), Professor Eric Rullier (lecture on intersphincteric resection), Professor Lars Pahlman (lecture on neoadjuvant/adjuvant therapy), ESCP President Professor Zoran Krivokapic (lecture on T4 cancer), Professor Emanuele Lezoche (lecture on local excision), and Professor Phil Quirke (lecture on abdominoperienal resection) were really inspiring and educational.

Without a doubt, the most entertaining session of the 2012 ASCRS meeting must be the symposium on 'Worst Case – Past Presidents’ Perspectives'. Via a roundtable discussion with case presentations, seven past presidents of the ASCRS were enlisted to provide an educational discussion of the management strategies for various complicated colorectal conditions. It was particularly amusing to see how the most senior surgeons of the Unites States made fun of each other during the discussion of their 'worst cases'. The presentation format is very much alike that of the 'Consultants' Corner' of the ESCP meeting, which is also one of my favorite scientific sessions.

My ESCP Best Paper presentation was given on 5 June 2012 immediately following the abstract/free paper session on 'Outcomes'. My paper illustrated how traditional Chinese medicine could effectively enhance the outcomes of Western medicine – this is the first study in the literature that confirmed the efficacy of electroacupunture in reducing the duration of postoperative ileus and hospital stay after laparoscopic colorectal surgery. My presentation went smoothly and was well received. After my talk, I was approached by a number of surgeons who were eager to learn more about my acupuncture research, and I was very delighted to share my experience with them. The discussions were fruitful and productive, and had stimulated new ideas in research.

Whilst in San Antonio I was able to spend some time visiting the sights and attractions including the Alamo and the River Walk. I enjoyed dining with new friends in the cozy 'Tex-Mex' restaurants on the River Walk. In addition, I had the opportunity to watch the San Antonio Spurs playing on their home court against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Western Conference Finals.

In summary, my attendance at the 2012 ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting was proven to be a valuable experience, not only academically beneficial but also socially rewarding. I am very thankful to the ESCP and the ASCRS for giving me this great opportunity to broaden my professional knowledge and international horizon.

Simon Ng
MBChB (Hons), FRCS (Edin), FCSHK, FRCSEd (Gen), FHKAM (Surgery), FACS
Professor, Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR

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