During the OESO congress in Geneva in September 2017, the idea was born to form an international association for robotic esophageal and gastric surgery. On the 8th of November 2017 during the the European Society for Diseases of the Esophagus (ESDE) in Utrecht, the UGIRA was founded by Philip Chiu, Richard van Hillegersberg, Asif Chaudry, James Luketich, and Peter Grimminger.
The primary aim of UGIRA is to facilitate the effective implementation and advancement of robotic esophageal and gastric surgery worldwide.
The current key focuses of UGIRA are:
- To form effective training programs that involve proctoring by experienced surgeons.
To safely implement esophageal and gastric robotic surgery, training pathways that involve proctoring should be followed. The society will serve as the core platform to establish these training pathways and to appoint proctors in all continents.
- To perform international studies trough a web-based registry.
International registries for robot-assisted minimally invasive esophagectomy (RAMIE) and gastrectomy (RAMIG) were previously established to enable collaborative research that focuses on robotic elements of esophagogastric surgery.
- To establish standardized guidelines for robotic esophageal and gastric surgical procedures.
The approach to robotic esophageal and gastric surgical procedures should be standardized by formulating step-by-step guidelines. These guidelines will encompass robotic surgery for both benign (i.e. hiatal hernia, fundoplication) and malignant disease (i.e. esophageal and gastric cancer), with the exception of bariatric procedures.