The Asian Chapter meeting of the World Congress of the International Union of Phlebology was held June 18 through June 20, in Kyoto, Japan. To many, Kyoto is considered the cultural center of Japan. The meeting was a tremendous success, as representatives from around the world presented topics pertaining to every aspect of phlebology. Kyoto proved to be a very interesting city, quaint and classic, with both the modern and historical Japan represented. The people of Japan are incredibly kind, patient, service oriented, and industrious. They respect one another, speak softly, and are very efficient. It becomes quite evident why this small country—half the size of California— is the second most industrial and affluent power in the world. I enjoyed four days in Kyoto and two days in Tokyo, a city of 50-million people during the daytime. In those six days, not once did I hear a blaring car horn, indicative of the kindness and patience of the Japanese. I was and remain most impressed, and am anxious to return to Japan.
The meeting was extremely informative, with excellent scientific presentations conducted by physicians from Europe, Australia, the United States, Japan, and various Asian countries. Topics presented and discussed on the first day included papers of acute venous thromboembolism, chronic venous disease, sclerotherapy, varicose vein treatment, and endovenous ablation. On Tuesday, papers covered venous leg ulcers, long-term results of endovenous ablation, non-invasive assessment of venous disease, compression therapy, and telangiectasias. Wednesday featured discussions of iliac vein stenting, foam sclerotherapy, advantages of endovenous ablation, and management of pulmonary emboli. Lively discussions followed many of the presentations as physicians challenged one another (in a good sport manner) regarding the optimal treatments. Many distinguished speakers presented topics of their expertise: Professor Hugo Partsch from Austria on compression therapy; Dr. John Bergan of the United States on foam sclerotherapy; Dr. B.B. Lee, also from the United States, on lymphatic malformations. Other well-known dignitaries included Dr. Eberhard Rabe of Germany, Dr. Bo Eklof of Sweden, Dr. Mark Malouf, Dr. Kurosh Parsi, and Ken Meyers of Australia, Dr. Raju of the United States, and many excellent Asian physicians whose names are more difficult to spell and repeat. The United States was further represented by Dr. Ted King, Dr. Michael Dalsing, Dr. Spyropoulos, Dr. Luire, Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Pauline Martimbeau, and myself. The international flavor and the open discussions provided insight into the world of phlebology and allowed comparisons of our own approach to venous disease versus that of other countries and physicians.
After-hours proved nearly as interesting, as we sampled the Japanese culture in authentic restaurants, toured the temples, and even participated in “dress up” as a famous samurai. We were fortunate to meet and spend time with gracious hosts who taught us much about Japan. I was then invited to Tokyo to teach physicians (in the Tokyo Vein Clinic) the methods of endovenous laser ablation using the CoolTouch laser system. The camaraderie and kindness was nearly overwhelming to a southern boy, as was the long night of karaoke with my new friends. I highly recommend Japan as a country to visit and study, we, as Americans, have much to learn from our Asian friends. The World Congress Phlebology meeting in Kyoto was excellent in every manner, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I now look forward to the Australian College of Phlebology meeting in Sydney in September. I shall attend and participate in this meeting as well—an event with potential to be one of the best ever.
John R. Kingsley, M.D., is board certified and practices at Vein Associates of America at Alabama Vascular & Vein Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
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