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First, I would like to apologize for not blogging since November. The time that has past since my last blog entry has been incredibly stimulating. As you see for the list of conferences above, I have attended numerous national surgical conferences since November 2011. Each conference has been extremely informative and exciting. At the SLIC Summit (Strategic Laparoscopy for Improved Cosmesis), I listened to very interesting topics regarding patients' perception of single incision laparoscopic surgery; operations that leave no apparent scar. I was encouraged to hear that patients, as I believed, would appreciate undergoing an operation that is just as safe and effective as conventional laparoscopy, but with the benefit of having no scar. There are obviously other benefits to single incision laparoscopy, which include decrease wound infection, hernia, quicker recovery, and less pain.

At the SESC (Southeastern Surgical Congress) and SAGES (Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons), I made multiple presentations. Among those, the standardization of single incision cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) videos. In the videos, I describe a safe, easily adaptable approach to gallbladder removal surgery with reproducible outcomes. My intention is to provide a safe surgical method that other surgeons, who are interested in learning this approach, can follow and eventually adopt without too many obstacles. The videos were very well accepted by the audience.

At this year's ACS (American College of Surgeons) leadership conference, we discussed healthcare reform issues as well as NSQIP, which is an ongoing program for monitoring and improving the quality of surgical care. It was truly an enlightening conference.

At the ASC (American College of Surgeons), I organized a single incision laparoscopic luncheon to discuss new surgical innovations and techniques regarding foregut [bariatric (obesity) surgery, acid reflux surgery, hiatal hernia surgery, operations for the treatment of achalasia, as well as HPB: pancreatic cancer surgery, liver and gallbladder surgeries] and colorectal surgeries. Attendance was impressive!

Surgical innovation leads to improvement in patient care. My fear, however, is that with the proposed changes in health care (health care reform), the surgical industry will be financially discouraged to continue and provide the tools necessary to further improve surgical outcomes.

At the end of this month, I'm traveling to Mexico to attend the World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery. I will be presenting Dr. Rosemurgy's (my colleague) and my work regarding single incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) without general anesthesia. Our patients remain as awake as they wish to be while their gallbladder is removed. They can watch the operation on the TV screen, listen to music, or be asleep but not intubated or paralyzed. We recently completed a prospective randomized study that demonstrated significantly less post-operative (after surgery) pain in patients undergoing single incision gallbladder removal without general anesthesia.

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