Writing the prologue for this work on endoscopy in inflammatory bowel disease not only gives me a sense of pride, but also great satisfaction to be able see how the development of knowledge about the pathology and endoscopic techniques compels both branches of Gastroenterology to essentially converge and complement one another.
Over the course of many years—surely one would say too many years—I have dedicated my professional life strictly to these two fields of specialisation: inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal endoscopy. The advantage of being older, if it has any, is being able to look back, evaluate the steps I have taken and, based on that, pave the way for those that come behind me. Today I can say with great satisfaction that I made no mistake in trying to instil in all residents and students that have gone through my department the concept that clinical and endoscopic experiences are not isolated and stagnant compartments, but rather are complementary, and that the development and knowledge of one must be essentially accompanied by the development and knowledge of the other. This book is wonderful proof of this and shows that it is necessary to have knowledge of the pathology and be involved in treating this type of patient so that endoscopy becomes more meaningful and, on the other hand, it is necessary to master this technique for a more appropriate approach to this type of patient.
I have always tried to be in charge of the endoscopies of my patients with inflammatory bowel disease and for the past several years our department has had an agenda for such patients, carried out by the members of the our department that make up the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Unit. The benefit for patients and doctors is undeniable, both from a medical and research perspective.
Therefore, it is only fair to acknowledge the coordinators: Dr Gallego, Dr Echarri, and Dr Castro, and the audacity of this initiative in bringing together both fundamental aspects, perhaps going against the likely dominating trend of high specialisation, which promotes separation between clinicians and endoscopists. I’m proud to see that most of the authors of the various chapters of this book are gastroenterologists with recognised expertise and dedication to inflammatory bowel disease. Without a doubt, they have been able to, among other accomplishments, raise our awareness and re-instruct us on how things really are, and lead the way for the next generation of gastroenterologists who will work in inflammatory bowel disease and who, by necessity, will go into gastrointestinal endoscopy.
Another accomplishment by the coordinators of this work consists of a proper selection of authors for each chapter, overall achieving an excellent outcome, due to the relevant and current topics addressed as well as the profound knowledge of each topic one notices when reading each author. Undoubtedly, it is knowledge that stems from study as well as experience that gives an added value that is often difficult to find.
This book addresses general topics, matters that are commonly known and forgotten in numerous scientific programmes of all kinds, such as the equipment and material needed to perform endoscopies on these types of patients or the value of endoscopy in diagnosing and following-up on inflammatory bowel disease, which is not simple, considering the times we live in, wherein terms such as “mucosal healing” are being incorporated more and more rapidly into our vocabulary. Also, more current, ever-controversial and continually developing topics are addressed such as endoscopy in paediatric patients, assessing the small intestine and the post-surgical recurrence or early detection of dysplasia. Even other imaging techniques such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging have a space in this work, which re-demonstrates the broad vision of the coordinators, who propose different and additional alternatives and remind us that, despite everything, the aspects of the disease that are unknown surely exceed those that are well-known. One part of this book that particularly stands out is dedicated to therapeutic endoscopy, which tackles issues that could seem separate from the daily practice of a gastroenterologist working in the field of inflammatory bowel disease, but which are not nor should be: endoscopic resection of dysplastic lesions, stenosis dilation or even the use of various types of prosthetics to save refractory stenosis.
Thus, this book essentially serves as a reference for anyone who is interested in inflammatory bowel disease, but also for gastroenterologists who must be responsible for these endoscopies, regardless of their regular or preferred field of work.
Lastly, and despite that someone like me—who has been editor of two books on gastrointestinal endoscopy—precisely understands a book to be something tangible occupying a place on the bookshelf, I cannot help but admire the possibilities the format of this work offers, which allows the inclusion of pictures, videos and even 3D charts to facilitate the comprehension of the various endoscopic procedures in a way that previous generations could not even dream of doing.
Thus, I am proud and honoured to present this work on endoscopy in inflammatory bowel disease. An indispensable reference work for all gastroenterologists: an inspiration, a guide, and especially, an absolutely exhilarating read. My only hope is that the reader equally enjoys and learns, just as I did.
Dr. Luis Abreu García
Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro-Majadahonda. Madrid