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The IRCAD, at the cutting edge of international surgery

As a showcase for the surgery of tomorrow, the IRCAD (Institut de Recherche contre le Cancer de l’Appareil Digestif – Research Institute for Digestive Cancer) recently opened its third international centre in Rio de Janeiro. Based in Strasbourg for more than 20 years, its work is focused on innovation and training in minimally invasive surgery, enabling surgeons the world over to master the latest techniques in this field. Spotlight on this internationally successful pioneering institution!

Strasbourg, the international capital of minimally invasive surgery

Founded in Strasbourg in 1994 by Professor Jacques Marescaux, the IRCAD is actively involved in the advancement of minimally invasive surgery. Currently the world leader in the teaching of these techniques, it trains more than 5,500 surgeons from all around the world at its headquarters in Strasbourg each year.

They have at their disposal a network of 800 international experts teaching the latest non-invasive surgery methods. They also benefit from training sessions in the world’s largest operating theatre: 40 surgeons and 20 anaesthetist nurses work around operating tables equipped with screens and articulated arms.

In addition to being a training facility, the IRCAD is also a research centre: Its researchers have produced no fewer than 3,550 publications, and 45 programmes are underway in numerous fields. Its scientific success and inventiveness have resulted in it achieving numerous “medical firsts” in Alsace. One of the most emblematic is without a doubt the “Lindbergh operation” in 2001, the first telesurgery operation run from New York and performed on a patient in Strasbourg.

As a driving force for innovation, the IRCAD embraced digital technology very early on. In 1998, it created its own online university, www.websurg.com. Today, courses, videos and expert opinions are broadcast daily to 320,000 surgeons, free of charge, in seven languages!

IRCAD - minimally invasive surgery

  • Pr. Jacques Marescaux

Exporting this success abroad

Having proved so successful, the IRCAD model is now being exported worldwide. The first international centre opened in Taiwan in 2008, to train surgeons from the Asia/Pacific region. A second centre was set up in at Barrestos, Brazil in 2011. Following the success of the courses provided by this centre, a third centre opened in June 2017 in Rio de Janeiro. It aims to train between 2,000 and 4,000 surgeons per year, both from Brazil and from the whole of Latin and Northern America.

This new centre proposes training courses in laparoscopic and endovascular surgery in various specialities: digestive, gynaecological, urological, thoracic and bariatric surgery. It has a surgical hub equipped with state-of-the-art technology: 20 experimental tables, 2 surgical robots and 1 robotic scanner.

At the very cutting edge of research, innovation and training in the medical field, the IRCAD is today a genuine ambassador for French excellence and a standard bearer for the medical technologies in Alsace.