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We have decided to release this issue of ESGEVISION with some delay this year due to the significant changes we all had to make in our lives in the era of coronavirus pandemic. ESGE responded promptly to the COVID-19 pandemic shortly after it hit Europe and released its guidance to clinicians on gynaecological endoscopic surgery in March. These recommendations have since been published in our official journal Facts, Views and Vision. 

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Our Editorial I co-wrote with Professor Grimbizis can also be found in the same issue. These resources are likely to be useful to colleagues during a possible second wave of the pandemic. As with many congresses and annual meetings, our 29th Congress which was due to take place in Lisbon has been converted to an online meeting under the title of ‘ESGE Live 2020’ and will take place on 6-8 December 2020. Further information on this event and registration details can be found in this issue and also on the ESGE website. The registration is now open and free for ESGE members.

In this issue of ESGEVISION we have an interview with one of the pioneers of hysteroscopic surgery, Professor Stefano Bettochi. Professor Attilio Di Spiezo Sardo interviewed him on behalf of ESGEVISION on the evolution of hysteroscopy. We also have an interview with Dr. Bernd Holthaus and Prof. Uwe Ulrich from AGE, one of the corporate societies of ESGE. You will find regular contributions from our corporate societies in future issues of ESGEVISION. Professor Lilo Mettler, one of the living legends of gynaecological endoscopic surgery and her colleagues have contributed with a very interesting article to this issue entitled ‘Women surgeons and women artists: History, power, challenges and opportunities’. I recommend everyone to read this article in its entirety as it provides detailed insight to the history of women in art and surgery.

Lastly, you will find the message of our outgoing President Professor Grigoris Grimbizis who worked tirelessly and has led many significant advances we have seen in our field. I thank Grigoris for his contributions to our society and journal and for his support during his reign. Grigoris will remain an important figure in our society in his role within the Board of Directors. We hope to prepare and release our next issue after the ESGE Live 2020 Event and I wish you remain healthy and safe during the course of the pandemic.

The ESGE Board of Directors and Executive Board were saddened to hear the passing of Luca Minelli. Luca was at the forefront of gynaecological endoscopic surgery and has made a huge contribution to the care of women and training of many gynaecologists. Professor Arnaud Wattiez and Dr Armando Romeo pay tribute to Luca Minelli on behalf of the ESGE in the following text:

Epublication ahead of print - Forthcoming in Volume 12, issue 2

The COVID-19 outbreak has dominated our lives for most of this year. Now that the outbreak seems to be slowing down and the rules of the lockdown are being relaxed, we have been planning resuming surgical activities again. This may not be very straightforward, as the risk of infection is still around us. We also need to organise the services to minimise the risk to our patients and healthcare professionals. 

The next issue of Facts, Views & Vision contains two articles dealing with the subject of restarting surgery in the coming days. The article by Mallick et al provides a detailed European perspective of the challenges ahead and outlines a proposal of how to organise benign gynaecological surgery services, whilst the article by Moawad et al discusses the North American perspective. 

ESGE Recommendations on Gynaecological Laparoscopic Surgery during COVID-19 outbreak

Global coronavirus pandemic has become the dominant issue throughout the world whilst the governments, nations and health services are trying to deal with its impact. Many countries are in either complete or partial lockdown to reduce the speed of transmission and save lives. Meanwhile healthcare systems are diverting their resources to looking after patients infected by the coronavirus. At the same time, women continue to present with gynaecological emergencies or are diagnosed with cancer treatment of which cannot be postponed. In order to guide our members and other colleagues organise their priorities and minimise the risk to themselves and their patients, the ESGE Executive Board has decided to release this statement.

  • During the time of crisis the healthcare providers need to be able to concentrate their resources on the care of people severely affected by the coronavirus, hence elective operations for benign conditions should not be carried out during the pandemic. When possible, alternative medical treatment approaches should be considered to minimise suffering and keep women at home, away from hospitals.
  • Depending on the availability and priorities of the healthcare system, it would be useful to screen patients for corona virus infection before planned surgical treatment, when possible.
  • In suspected or documented Covid-19 positive patients, surgery should be postponed until full recovery, if there is no immediate life threatening situation. Consideration should be given to non-surgical alternatives when possible. If this is not possible, surgery must be performed with full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn by the entire theatre staff to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Hospitals should have arrangements in place to be able to look after women with gynaecological emergencies. Hospitals should also be able to care for women with possible gynaecological cancer and treat those who have been diagnosed with gynaecological cancer. Surgery for gynaecological cancer should continue, unless alternative interim options are possible until the end of the outbreak.
  • Laparoscopic surgery for gynaecological emergencies and cancer would be beneficial for the health system by reducing hospital stay, compared to open surgery. However, this should be weighed against possible disadvantages of laparoscopic surgery during the outbreak
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