Monday, March 7, 2011

AAOS 2011 Annual Meeting, San Diego (Orthopedic Blog)

In mid-February more than 30,000 orthopedic surgeons, health care clinicians, and other orthopedic industry professionals from around the globe descended on the city of San Diego.  One of the nation’s largest medical meetings, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), was about to launch its 2011 annual meeting.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is the premier, world-renowned group that serves as the organized entity for orthopedic surgeons and related health professionals.  Education for orthopedic specialists, sharing of meritorious clinical research findings, and advocacy for improved patient care are the primary functions of the group.  Founded in 1933, it has grown to include more than 36,000 members worldwide.  Many of these individuals convene annually to network, share knowledge, and collaboratively work to enhance the quality of musculoskeletal care.
There are a limited number of US cities which have the infrastructure to effectively host a meeting of this size and caliber.  San Diego, one of the few cities able to accommodate this meeting, has been a frequent site for the gathering, a boon to any host city because of the anticipated $112 million economic impact that will result.  Attendees arrived from near and afar, flying in from the other side of the world, trekking from the east coast of the US, or simply driving from contiguous locations in southern California.  Some surgeons arrived solo having temporarily closed the small rural clinics in which they practice, while others came in contingencies from some of the most regarded academic medical centers in the world.  Despite the dramatic differences in their practices, all have one thing in common, the desire to learn, share, and improve the care that they deliver to their patients.
Speakers and presenters represented the world as well.  The international flair was clearly apparent.  The Guest Nation for the meeting was Turkey.  While the Turkish contingency profiled to the group the unique issues facing the Turkish orthopedic community, other speakers from around the world provided a global perspective and fostered awareness of the contributions made to orthopedics from other nations throughout the world.
The meeting featured a multitude of educational formats which appealed to everyone.  Symposia provided the opportunity for several speakers to present and discuss innovative topics, often with differing opinions, before an audience.  Instructional Courses are solidly evidence based presentations made by renowned individuals focusing on principles and techniques.  Surgical Skills Courses include both a lecture component as well as a hands-on saw bones lab.  Orthopedic Review Courses provide an opportunity to participate in all day courses that focus on the diagnosis and management of orthopedic problems.   Paper Presentations involve groups of three papers presented each in six minute increments followed by an audience discussion led by skilled moderators.  Poster Presentations afford the opportunity for a self-guided learning activity which features cutting edge scientific research.  Scientific Exhibits vividly depict a study or complex surgical procedure using AV or interactive enhancements in addition to the poster.  Both poster presentations and scientific exhibits are categorized by subspecialty (hip, knee, research, foot/ankle, hand/wrist, pediatrics, practice management, shoulder/elbow, spine, sports medicine, trauma, tumor/metabolic disease, and allied health).  The Multimedia Education Center offers the opportunity to view peer reviewed videos and multimedia programs developed by orthopedic colleagues.  The Technical Exhibits Hall affords an opportunity to view cutting edge medical devices, equipment, diagnostic products, and health information systems.  An interesting sidebar for these displays is that there are often time devices and other technologies on display that are not FDA approved for use in the United States.  Since this is truly a global meeting, technology from around the world is available for review for all attendees.
With literally hundreds of meeting and session choices before us, we four had to make difficult choices.  The week quickly flew past us and when all was said and done, our attendance tally included a broad array of hip/knee reconstruction courses, practice management events, and nursing sessions.  Evening hours were spent in dinner meetings debating important research topics, exploring cutting edge technology opportunities, and forging important relationships.   One of the highlights of our trip was the pleasure of meeting the world-renowned founder of Operation Walk, Dr. Lawrence Dorr.  He was both delightful and inspirational to us as we begin our own mission work emulating his very successful program.   We returned home exhausted, but armed with a wealth of information to assimilate and incorporate into our care practices.  It was an experience not to be missed.

Reference:  Americal Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

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