David ZimmermanInterview with David Zimmerman about his educational sessions in Rome Anal Fistula event in July ahead of ESCP meeting in Nice in September.

Long-standing ESCP Education committee member David Zimmerman has a busy time ahead. As well as his day job as colorectal surgeon, surgical oncologist and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Elisabeth-Twee Steden Hospital, Tilburg, Netherlands, he is leading three educational sessions at international meetings over the next few months.

As well as participating in the dedicated Anal Fistula conference in Rome on the 2 July, Zimmerman is involved in delivering two sessions at it. He is co-moderating the first session, ‘Epidemiology and Diagnosis’ and will then present within the surgery session that follows it.

While at the Annual ESCP meeting in September, he will deliver the pre-conference course session at Nice, ‘Advances in Treatment of Cryptoglandular Fistula’. Additionally, he is looking forward to the ESCP Master Class in November that he is organising with ESCP treasurer, Fillipo Lattore.

Zimmerman explains why an educational focus on anal fistula is so important:

“Perianal fistula is a very common problem that is often treated by junior doctors, with little experience and knowledge about it. These courses seek to address this concern among trainee surgeons.”

He has been involved in organising the Anal Fistula ESCP Pre-conference course for a few years together with his fellow-Education Committee members Baljit Singh and Tina van Loon, as well as with German educator and surgeon Christoph Isbert.

“In the courses we highlight both the commonly accepted techniques, including the risks and dangers, as well as newer techniques that are frequently introduced. It is important that these techniques are introduced with caution. As such, we focus on potential benefits, but also present objective evidence (which can be limited) and pitfalls. In this way we hope to prevent frivolous implementation at the cost of patient satisfaction,” explains Zimmerman.

He goes on to explain what the ESCP pre-conference hands-on training course on ‘Advances in Treatment of Cryptoglandular Fistula’ involves:

“One of the unique selling points of the course is the cooperation of Christoph Isbert as course director. He developed the porcine model on which virtually every proctological operation can be performed. This will provide a unique learning experience!”

The Nice course will show the attendees the classic treatment modalities of cryptoglandular fistulas and offer an opportunity to gain hands-on experience on the ‘Isbert model’. It will also provide a look into the new treatment modalities that are currently being offered.

Speakers are selected specifically for their open attitude and willingness to explain and discuss techniques with attendees. Experts in the field will present data on different modalities such as laser, VAAFT, OTSC and permacol. A critical appraisal of current evidence will be offered as well as a look into the way new techniques can be implemented in current practice.

After this course, trainees will be more aware of established as well as newer treatment modalities and get the opportunity to practice these techniques hands-on. They will learn when and how new techniques can be implemented and what the current status of these modalities is.

Zimmerman says:

“While the course is intended for trainees with a basic knowledge of fistula treatment and anorectal anatomy, we have noticed previously that senior surgeons attend and rate it highly.”

He concludes with advice for attendees:

“It is important to a have an open mind and not to be afraid to speak your mind, the course is highly interactive.”

Find out more about the ‘Anal Fistula’ International Conference in Rome, 2-3 July, here

Register for the Hands-on course: ‘Advances in Treatment of Cryptoglandular Fistula’ here. It starts at 9.30am on Tuesday 25 September at ESCP Nice 2018

Find out more about ESCP's 6th Regional Masterclass on Complex Anal Fistula here. It takes place in Rome, Italy on 19 November 2018. 

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