Monday, 12 June 2017

SCS medical student wins top prize for research into adrenal incidentalomas

Dominic presenting at
the RACS annual scientific congress
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health medical student Dominic Maher’s research paper entitled 'Are Patients with Adrenal Incidentalomas Being Followed Up? A review of 804 Cases', won the highly competitive TS Reeve Research Prize at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress in Adelaide last month.

A Year 4 student, Dominic investigated adrenal incidentalomas (AI), which are lesions in the adrenal glands greater than 1 centimetre and discovered by chance on CT scans or other imaging.

“AI are reported in around 4-7 per cent of patients, and while the majority are benign, a small proportion may be large, functional, or malignant and might require surgery,” Dominic said.

“If these clinically relevant lesions are not identified, they may have devastating consequences for the patient — as a result, all lesions require follow-up.”

Unfortunately, his study also found that the majority of such lesions are not adequately followed up.

Dominic said the goal of his research project was to improve AI follow-up, aiming to determine the current pattern of follow-up of patients and to investigate the factors that influence whether follow-up is facilitated.

“We found that follow-up is influenced by patient, radiological and medical provider factors, and we believe these results can be used to improve clinical follow-up for patients with AI,” Dominic said. 

Dominic undertook the research project after completing the Monash University short course* – “An Introduction to Surgical Research” – coordinated by Monash Health endocrine surgeon Mr James Lee.

Dominic said the course provided practical skills and knowledge to make the process of research easier to understand, and gave him the confidence to undertake a small research project.

The prestigious TS Reeve Research Prize is given to the best scientific presentation in the endocrine section at the annual Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress.

Dominic’s supervisors were Mr James Lee and Professor Jonathan Serpell.   Contributing authors to his paper included Dr Evan Williams, Mr Simon Grodski and Dr Meei Yeung. 

*The 2017 course commences on 17th June, email for further details.

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