EndoFound's Virtual Medical Conference kicked off on Saturday, January 16 with a live Q&A featuring several prominent endometriosis specialists. Drs. Tamer Seckin, Dan Martin, Harry Reich, Victor Gomel, Arnaud Wattiez, Ie-Ming Shih, Karli Goldstein, and Philippe Koninckx answered questions from the 1000 attendees on topics ranging from reoperative endometriosis and fertility to respecting patients' goals during treatment plans. This live Q&A was the first of two sessions that preceded the 23 incredible presentations from medical experts around the world—all of which are still available to view for free on endofound.org. As Dr. Tamer Seckin explained in his conference introduction video, the uncertainty of COVID granted EndoFound the opportunity to post this library of videos online, allowing both patients and medical professionals alike the chance to catch up on the most cutting-edge endometriosis research and advances.
Dr. Harry Reich's talk was up first during the Uterus Panel. Dr. Reich discussed two of his complicated past cases and the importance of laparoscopic surgery. Dr. Phillippe Koninickx followed the presentation with a discussion about operating on deep endometriosis and some promising upcoming treatments like disc excision. Finally, Dr. Errico Zupi gave a presentation on adenomyosis. This section of the Uterus Panel focused on the importance of individualized treatment and called for improving the integration of research and surgical treatments.
Next, Drs. Togas Tulandi, Ayse Ayhan, and Farr Nezhat tackled the topics of extrapelvic endometriosis and cancer. Dr. Tulandi reviewed the research that shows that endometriosis is associated with epithelial ovarian cancer, and explained the connection between endo and adenomyosis and tubal and ovarian cancers. He also explained that the risk of endo or adenomyosis becoming cancer is low, but encouraged doctors to stop seeing the conditions as premalignant. Dr. Ayhan's talk went into depth about cancer and endometriosis, also concluding that patients should do their best to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not worry too much about the risk of malignant transformation of endometriosis. To round out the panel, Dr. Nezhat discussed the approach of performing oophorectomies in patients with family history of ovarian cancer. This hour-long presentation was full of information about surgery, prevention of endometriomas, and more, and was eye-opening for anyone with an interest in the treatment of endometriosis.
After a powerful keynote speech by Dr. Arnaud Wattiez, in which he called all doctors to work closely with patients and to use an individualized approach in treating endo, the final panel of day one tackled Neuropathy and Peritoneal Endometriosis. Dr. Marc Possover discussed neuropathy and explained how nerve damage due to endometriosis can lead to pelvic neuralgia and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Finally, Dr. Ie-Ming Shih presented on the molecular relationship between endometriosis and adenomyosis and eutopic endometrium.
Day two of the conference also began with a live Q&A during which Drs. Tamer Seckin, Dan Martin, Harry Reich, Shaheen Kazali, Victor Gomel, Ted Lee, Ayse Ayhan, Tomer Singer, Liselotte Mettler, and Jon Einarsson answered more audience questions. The questions ranged from the technical—like discussion of bowel surgery—to the medical community's understanding of endometriosis in general. The doctors took time to acknowledge how important patients have been to their understanding of endometriosis, often informing the medical community and alerting it to new symptoms. As Dr. Seckin explained, "If it wasn't for patients, we wouldn't be here."
Dr. Victor Gomel gave the keynote address during the Q&A and tackled an important topic: identifying endometriosis during adolescence. He informed the audience that endo appears to be more common in teens than previously thought, and that it is a lifelong chronic inflammatory disease. This makes early detection so important - if the disease is found in adolescence, it can be treated and a lifetime of chronic pain can be avoided.
The first panel focused on deep endometriosis. Dr. Jon Einarsson gave a detailed talk on repairing damage done during surgery, complete with videos. Dr. Shaheen Kazali walked other providers through techniques they can use during endometriosis surgery. Dr. Gunter Noe also spoke directly to providers, focusing on preserving urological function, while Dr. Dan Martin discussed treatment of persistent endometriosis with helpful photos to help identify nodules. Dr. Ted Lee concluded the panel with a discussion of rectus muscle endometriosis and treatment.
The final panel of day two focused on fertility, with presentations from Dr. Mettler on endometrioma surgery in patients with infertility and from Dr. Singer on patients' decision to freeze eggs. Dr. Pinar Kodaman discussed the latest research related to endo and conception, including factors impacting fertility and potential medical interventions that can improve chances of getting pregnant. Dr. Jovana Lekovich went into depth about infertility and endometriosis, discussing the factors that influence chances of conceiving. Dr. Errico Zupi concluded the conference with his talk on medical interventions and endometriosis, emphasizing the importance of preoperative steps like taking a patient's clinical history, performing pelvic exams, and completing necessary imaging before surgery is suggested.
All of these videos are available online now, making this year's virtual conference one that will continue to impact patients and providers alike for years to come. If you want to watch any of these presentations, please visit endofound.org/medicalconference.