Changes in Laparoscopic Surgery

September 9, 2006
James Daniell, MD
James Daniell, MD

OBGYN.net Conference CoverageFrom ISGE - Montreal, Canada - April, 1999

Dr. Daniell: "Here we are in Montreal at the ISGE after many years of laparoscopy, and OBGYN.net is extremely lucky to be able to capture for a moment - the father, or maybe even the godfather, or the god of laparoscopy - Professor Semm, who's my hero. When I was just beginning, just a small boy out of medical school, I heard of Professor Semm - he's led and published many, many innovative articles. So Professor Semm, here you are now in Montreal. It's an honor to have you with us, and I want to personally thank you for the influence you had on my career and give you a chance through the new technology of the Internet to say a few words to the doctors and women of the world who sign on to OBGYN.net. What are your thoughts on what you've seen over the last 50 years in endoscopy?"

Dr. Semm: "I started in 1963 with surgical periscopy, now called laparoscopy, and everybody - the whole world - was against me."

Dr. Daniell: "Yes, I know that. You were right and they were wrong."

Dr. Semm: "Yes, I thank you a lot. I'm still living and general surgeons would like to kill me at this time as an antique surgeon, as a charlatan - because I changed "big incision - big surgeon." The surgeons said to me, "Semm, come on. I am a surgeon, I must see something. I open very broad." I said, "But you with your… come on, you can forget it."

Dr. Daniell: "Yes, this is right. I remember all the criticism that you received, and I remember thinking - he's right and they're wrong. Now all the surgeons are taking out the gallbladders, the appendix. You were the first to take out the appendix through the laparoscope; the first to do subtotal hysterectomy - over 200 firsts that you've done in your career."

Dr. Semm: "I wrote two books with over 750 full frame slides, color slides, and they were dispersed around the world in two years - 20,000 pieces. Now you can't buy one."

Dr. Daniell: "That's right. Your publishing career has been unbelievable. I think no one else in the field of gynecologic endoscopy has published as much and produced as many wonderful video tapes and developed as many innovative procedures and taught people all around the world. You've traveled all around the world with suitcases full of equipment, and I know that you have influenced more people in the field of laparoscopy than any one else in the world. The younger gynecologists - and even though I'm bald, I'm still younger than you - we appreciate what you've done. Hopefully today, the general surgeons now can look back and say, "Semm was right, we were wrong." So it's an honor to have you on OBGYN.net here today, and it's good that the women of the world and also the men of the world - now benefit from your early, early pioneering work. So thank you on behalf of the women of the world, Professor Semm."

Dr. Semm: "Thank you very much for the kind words."