Recent times have been difficult for medical professionals working in the field of pelvic floor dysfunction. The Urogynaecological Society of Australasia (UGSA) Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) was held on 14–18 March 2018, in Adelaide, with the findings of the Senate inquiry into transvaginal mesh looming. However, it was a very positive meeting, focusing on safe, evidence-based practice and the processes of shared decision-making within urogynaecology.
The workshops included techniques of vaginal surgery, complications in urogynaecology, and a cadaver workshop allowing attendees to thoroughly work through retropubic, vaginal and transobturator anatomy. The laparoscopic and robotic workshops covered a wide range of pelvic floor surgery topics, as well as instruction in colposacropexy techniques.
We were fortunate to have five international speakers: Vivian Sung, Halina Zyczynski and Adam Steinberg from the USA, Paul Moran from the UK, and Barry O’Reilly from Ireland. We all face the same challenges in caring for our patients. Accessing the combined experience and wisdom of these five speakers was extremely valuable.
Often, we need a multi-disciplinary approach in the management of patients with pelvic floor symptoms. We were able to call on the expertise of some Australian colleagues: Samantha Pillay and Ashani Couchman for urology; Elizabeth Murphy for colorectal surgery; and Phil Dinning for gastroenterology.
Current controversies around the use of transvaginal mesh were discussed. We held stimulating discussion with representatives from the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), experienced general gynaecologists, urogynaecologists and a biomedical ethicist. Discussion concentrated primarily on the processes needed to safeguard patients, without denying them access to innovative treatments. This is an important issue in which UGSA will continue to support the rights of all of our patients.
We hope to see you at the next UGSA ASM, 20–23 March 2019, on the Gold Coast.