Division of Benign Surgery – April 2022 update

Division Director: Dr Juan Diego Villegas 

The FIGO Division of Benign Surgery includes the committees on Minimal Access Surgery, Obstetric Fistula, and Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Disorders. The Division of Benign Surgery works on the Triple ‘A’ strategy: access, awareness and advocacy. 

This division is actively looking for common activities that provide safe and feasible surgeries for women around the world, and is currently working on a FIGO Statement on the disparities in patient access to benign gynaecological surgery. It focuses on decreasing the gap between the need for health care and the level of access for women.  

Committee on Minimal Access Surgery

Committee Chair: Dr Megan Wasson  

The Committee on Minimal Access Surgery is continuing to develop formal fellowship training programmes around the world and strategies to decrease open surgery for benign gynaecological surgery. The committee is working to increase the number of formal fellowship training programmes around the world.   

The American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) currently has a formalised international fellowship programme known as the Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (FMIGS). The MAS Committee is in the process of drafting a MoU to increase collaboration between FIGO and AAGL/FMIGS to help increase the number of international fellowships. 

The committee is also committed to increasing minimal access surgery approaches and decreasing laparotomy, with a goal to write a FIGO Position Paper on strategies and guidelines to promote these outcomes. A face-to-face meeting is planned in November in Cartagena, Colombia, with active participation in the conference as lecturers with a focus on minimal access surgery. 

Committee on Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Disorders

Committee Chair: Dr Gabriel Yao-Kuma Ganyaglo

The Committee on Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Disorders will address the low LMIC capacity to treat pelvic floor dysfunction. Concerned about the low provider capacity to treat pelvic floor conditions, especially in LMIC settings, the committee proposes a FIGO survey of OBGYN trainees, training institutions and their faculty to assess trainees’ level of exposure to urogynaecology during residency. Findings from this survey would inform FIGO advocacy to improve LMIC capacity to cater for women with pelvic floor conditions.  

Where the need exists, the committee proposes a FIGO collaboration with professional societies/associations to expand the reach for formal urogynaecology fellowship training programmes. Adequate exposure to urogynaecology during residency could enhance trainee interest in the discipline and improve their confidence in caring for women with some pelvic floor dysfunctions. Finally, the committee contributed a website article for FIGO’s International Women’s Day campaign.  

Committee on Obstetric Fistula

Committee Chair: Dr Fekade Ayenachew 

The Committee on Obstetric Fistula is planning a joint webinar on obstructed labour with FIGO's Committee on Childbirth and PPH, and working on developing a Conceptual Framework to identify and agree on activities to be done by FIGO’s Fistula Surgery Training Initiative’s Project Team and Expert Advisory Group. It is also looking at areas of collaboration between the Fistula Committee, the Project Team, and other FIGO Committees.  

Furthermore, the committee is committed to their already very successful international fellowship/training programme. It is a work in progress to align the committee into the Division of Benign Surgery, as they have worked independently for a long time.