Dr Julio Mayol is the Medical Director and Director of Innovation at Hospital Clínico San Carlo, Professor of Surgery at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and patron of the Foundation for Biomedical Research San Carlos. During his presentation at the ESCP annual conference, Dr Mayol gave an indication of what the future of coloproctology will look like.

The busy talk was joined by many surgeons and practitioners who learned how surgeons are much more than operators.

Dr Mayol stated that surgeons gather and process data to make decisions in order to diagnose and treat patients with complex conditions. This is through a direct intervention using either hands or surgical instruments. However, he argued that surgeons are compelled to move beyond the mere production of surgical services and into value-based coloproctology.

During the session, Dr Mayol was joined by speakers at the fore of surgical innovation and included: Mr Richard Brady (UK), Ms Marlies Schijven (The Netherlands), Mr Angus Watson (UK), Mr Rodrigo Menchaca (Spain) and Mr Shafi Ahmed (UK).

The panel discussed different ways including how AV, AR, social media, mobile apps and gamification can drive the specialism forward and educate budding coloproctologists en masse.

Ahead of the keynote event, we caught up with Dr Mayol who said:

“The role of artificial intelligence (AI) is a hotly discussed topic in surgery, across all specialisms. However recent reports on the matter have suggested that surgeons will not be easily replaced by robots.

“The complexity of the unstructured scenarios we operate in make it really hard for AI to replace or assume the role of the surgeon.”

The session explored how the specialism is advancing at lightning pace due to new technologies. Though a surgeon cannot yet be completely replaced by a robot or virtual reality, these advancements can enhance coloproctology practices and education to open up new worlds of possibility.