The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has awarded Miller School physician Sunil Amin, M.D., M.P.H., its coveted Endoscopic Training Award to help him advance his endoscopic surgery skills. Dr. Amin will receive a cash stipend and the opportunity to study emerging techniques with Jan Martinek, M.D., Ph.D., a world-renowned expert, at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in the Czech Republic.
Less-invasive endoscopic techniques use long thin tubes, often inserted through the nose, to gather diagnostic information or perform surgeries. Over the past decade, more complex procedures have been developed at a fast pace.
These approaches are often safer than traditional open surgeries and require shorter recovery times. However, keeping up with these advances, and gaining hands-on experience, can be challenging for physicians with busy practices. The award gives gastroenterologists the resources and time to visit experts in other countries and conduct these mini-fellowships.
“Advanced endoscopy is such a broad specialty that it's really hard to learn all of these skills, especially after just a one-year fellowship,” Dr. Amin said. “The ASGE created this extra training for young faculty to learn new skills and bring them back to their home institutions.”
During his training, Dr. Amin will be studying some of the most complex procedures, including endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) and gastric peroral endoscopic myotomies (G-POEM).
ESD removes early-stage cancers en bloc — interventional gastroenerologists remove all of the cancerous, or precancerous, tissue out in one piece. Earlier endoscopic techniques removed diseased tissue one piece at a time.
POEM procedures treat achalasia, a common swallowing disorder in which people feel like food is constantly stuck in the esophagus. The problem is caused by a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that is too tight and doesn’t allow food to empty into the stomach.
“During the POEM procedure, we can go under the surface of the esophagus, find that muscle and create an incision, called a myotomy,” Dr. Amin said. “That releases the muscle, in a very noninvasive way, and allows food to pass into the stomach much more easily.”
G-POEM treats gastroparesis, which is similar to achalasia. In this case, the stomach does not empty into the upper intestine. Like the POEM procedure, surgeons use a small incision called a myotomy to loosen the tight muscle and help this process proceed normally.
Dr. Amin will study these advanced techniques and ultimately bring back the new options to his South Florida patients.
“The University of Miami has been incredibly supportive in allowing me to take this time away from my practice,” Dr. Amin said. “I’m excited to bring these skills to Miami and expand the services we can offer.”