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Looking forward to Birmingham 2018: Pelvic Floor sessions - an interview with Mr Andrew Williams

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 11:09
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Continuing our series of interviews previewing this year’s ACPGBI annual meeting, 9-11 July, we talked to Mr Andrew Williams (Consultant Colorectal Pelvic Floor Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK) who highlighted some of the key topics under discussion during the Pelvic Floor sessions in Birmingham.

“We are very keen that the Pelvic Floor sessions should appeal to pelvic floor specialists and also those surgeons who do not perform a lot of pelvic floor procedures, but need to be kept informed and abreast of the latest developments in the field,” Mr Williams began. “Often the beauty of attending the ACPGBI meeting is not attending the sessions where one is an expert and perhaps where you have heard the talks before, but rather attending those sessions that are not in your area of expertise which can often be the most informative and useful for your everyday practice. This is where Continuing Professional Development really counts as you may learn something that you previously did not know.”

On the Monday morning, the Pelvic Floor Society will run the Pelvic Floor Ultrasound Training Course (supported by BK Medical) on endoanal scanning with faculty from St Thomas’ Hospital, London. Now in its 10th year the course will include formal lectures followed by ‘hands on’ assessment of 3D data cubes on BK Ultrasound Consoles. The course will run from 10:00 until approximately 13:00 and can be booked as an option when registering for the ACPGBI meeting. Also on Monday morning, the ‘Pelvic Floor free papers’ session will have presentations discussing pelvic floor problems and benign proctology.

“The main focus of this year’s Pelvic Floor Symposium will concentrate on the controversial use of mesh during pelvic floor surgery and this is particularly topical given the heightened public and media interest. This session will be chaired by Professor Charles Knowles and Ms Nicola Fearnhead,” explained Mr Williams. “The Pelvic Floor Society has been heavily involved in collecting as much information as possible about the risks involved in usage of surgical mesh in the pelvis including establishing a database that is collecting procedural records, voluntary accreditation and the society has also published a position statement on the use of surgical mesh1, so we have been quite robust in our response. This session should be attended not only by pelvic floor surgeons and allied healthcare professionals but also general coloproctologists who may have concerns and questions about using mesh.”

There will also be a session focusing on all the latest research and provide attendees with updates on our research initiative including the CAPACITY trial, SAFARI trial, LARS trial, as well as several addition studies which are either in development or in the process of being rolled out. “This really is an important session for anyone who is interested in the academic aspect of pelvic floor research,” added Mr Williams.

The organisers of this year’s meeting have designed a programme that offers practical advice on how to approach various problems and in the session on the Wednesday morning, ‘Top Secrets and How to Avoid Getting into Trouble’, Mr Williams will outline how to avoid problems when treating patients with rectal prolapse and obstructive defecation.

Mr Williams also noted that all members of the ACPGBI are welcome to join the Pelvic Floor Society if they have a current interest in pelvic floor pathology. He also encouraged gynaecologists, uro- gynaecologists, urologists and Associated Healthcare Professionals to join the society as diagnosing and treating pelvic floor conditions and diseases is multi-compartmental and requires a multi-disciplinary approach. All members of the society are granted free access to the Pelvic Floor Society’s Surgical Mesh Database to upload their procedural data online. 

“I would encourage any of my colleagues who have an interest in pelvic floor surgery and research to attending our sessions in Birmingham,” Mr Williams concluded. “As it is clearly the most fascinating area of coloproctology!”


  1. Position Statement by The Pelvic Floor Society on behalf of The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland on the use of mesh in ventral mesh rectopexy (VMR). Mercer-Jones et al. Colorectal Disease. (http://thepelvicfloorsociety.co.uk/budcms/includes/kcfinder/upload/files/Mercer-Jones_et_al-2017-Colorectal_Disease.pdf)

If you are interested in joining the Pelvic Floor Society, please click here

Registration for the meeting is now open, to register please click here

To view the conference programme, please click here