• 2018 Spine Summit - Restoring Alignment in an Era of Global Change

    Author: Daniel J. Hoh, MD

    The 2018 meeting of the Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves (DSPN) took place March 14 - 17th in Orlando, Florida with a record number of 550 surgeons in attendance. The annual Spine Summit brings together members of the DSPN, as well as, notable leaders from various guest societies. This year the DSPN meeting welcomed leadership and members from Women in Neurosurgery (WINS) and the international partner, the Brazilian Society of Neurosurgery. In addition, special sessions and courses were co-branded with the Scoliosis Research Society and AOSpine. Together, we celebrated the meeting theme of Restoring Alignment in an Era of Global Change by reflecting on current changes that are shaping the field of spine surgery today.


    2018 DSPN Chair Marjorie Wang addresses attendees about the importance of neurosurgery advocacy.

    The scientific program began on Wednesday with four special pre-meeting courses. The "MIS/ Navigation and Robotics Procedural Solutions" and the "Essentials of Spinal Deformity Required for all Spinal Surgeons" courses provided participants with a combination of case discussions, lectures, and interactive learning. "Spinal Tumor Pathology Made Easy" with AOSpine offered insight into advanced surgical, radiation and other adjunct treatment strategies for primary and metastatic spinal tumors through a series of controversial debates. The DSPN collaborated with the Brazilian Society of Neurosurgery to offer a special course on the global perspective of spinal trauma and spinal cord injury. Wednesday afternoon also hosted a special roundtable, "Return to Productivity after Spinal Surgery" led by Zoher Ghogawala, Jack Knightly, and Marjorie Wang. Specially invited stakeholders to the discussion included Elise Berliner (Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality), Laura Esmail (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute), Ruth Coleman (Health Design Plus), Samuel Young (Blue Cross Blue Shield - Florida), and Sandy Schwartz (Univ. of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business).


    John McGillicuddy is presented the Meritorious Member Peripheral Nerve Award by Holly Gilmer.

    Later in the evening, the opening reception treated attendees to food, drinks, and luau-themed entertainment including live music and performers. Thursday morning's scientific program began with an introduction and welcome by scientific program chair, Juan Uribe. The morning's plenary session was devoted to this year's top abstract awardees for the J.A.N.E. award, and the Mayfield Basic Science and Clinical awards. DSPN chair Marjorie Wang gave an outstanding address on the role we play as neurosurgeons in advocating for our patients, colleagues, community, and profession. Honored guests Vincent Traynelis, Rick Sasso, Paul McCormick and John McGillicuddy shared personal accounts of their meritorious professional and personal lives.

    Special invited speaker Jerome Bettis gave an inspiring account of his life from humble beginnings to a professional football player, Superbowl champion, and Hall of Fame inductee. In an engaging discussion with DSPN members Regis Haid and Joseph Maroon, Mr. Bettis gave his perspective on the importance of giving back to the community, and his experience being a spine surgical patient. Also in the session were informative talks on recent advances in spinal cord injury research, and evidence-based criteria for return-to-play after spinal surgery. 


    2018 DSPN scientific program chair Juan Uribe presents a donation on behalf of the DSPN to Mr. Bettis' charitable foundation, The Bus Stops Here.

    A plenary session partnered with the SRS on adult deformity surgery, both MIS and open, highlighted Thursday afternoon's scientific program. Late afternoon included a dedicated course focused on case-based management of peripheral nerve trauma. In addition, top resident abstract awardees presented scholarly papers with note-worthy commentary by distinguished discussants. The DSPN was proud to award 24 resident research awards, named in honor of past and current mentors, John Jane, Sr., Charles Kuntz IV, and David Kline. Thursday's activities concluded with a special general session featuring light-hearted debates over refreshments. Prominent neurosurgery and orthopedic luminaries such as Jack Knightly, Todd Albert, Alex Vaccaro, Chris Shaffrey, Frank LaMarca, Greg Mundis, Dom Coric, Shay Bess, Dan Resnick and Regis Haid gave competing arguments (both compelling and entertaining) on controversial topics such as the optimal spine practice model (academic versus private), ambulatory surgery centers, and conflict of interest relationships. This year's meeting was enhanced by the addition of audience participation. Through the meeting's mobile phone app, general attendees were able to vote in real time with the debate winner displayed on the overhead screen.

    Leading up to the 2017 meeting, there was an enthusiastic response for abstracts with 471 abstract submissions, and > 300 abstracts presented. Friday's activities began with breakout sessions for abstract presentations divided into sub-specialties such as minimally invasive, deformity, trauma, tumor, peripheral nerve and basic science. Friday's plenary session focused on current healthcare trends with relevant topics such as the rise of the narrow network, risk vs. benefit of a spine bundle, hospital efficiencies and bending the cost curve, and single vendor models.

    Friday afternoon included several exciting special courses covering topics related to incorporating MIS in your practice, optimizing surgical outcomes and clinical pathways, cadaver course, a WINS leadership seminar with special guest Gae Walters, and a special complimentary ARNP/ PA seminar. For the first time, the DSPN offered a seminar on mentoring with Ziya Gokaslan, Regis Haid, Alan Scarrow, Langston Holly, Robert Friedlander, Mark Shaffrey, Randall Porter, Shelly Timmons Alex Valadka, Dan Resnick, Allan Levi and Harry R. van Loveren. This was an invite-only session with attendance by > 50 residents specially nominated by their program directors. The topics ranged from finding a good mentor, launching your career, and life/work balance. Continuing with a focus on the next generation of neurosurgeons, the DSPN was proud to recognize the scholarly achievements of the next generation of spine leaders at the Young Neurosurgeons dinner.

    The Spine Summit concluded on Saturday with the David Cahill Memorial Controversies. Historically, this session features back-and-forth discussion by esteemed panelists over controversial clinical scenarios. The 2017 Cahill debates continued this time-honored tradition with rousing, provocative arguments on topics such as managing neurologically intact burst fractures, multilevel OPLL, freehand versus navigated screw placement, and SI joint fusion.


    Pro Football Hall of Famer and Superbowl champion Jerome Bettis onstage with Regis Haid and Joseph Maroon discussing his life, career, and experiences as a spine surgery patient.

    Overall, the 2018 Spine Summit - Annual Meeting of the DSPN was a great success. It was truly a celebration of spine surgery. Further details of the meeting can be found at the DSPN website: www.spinesection.org. Planning for next year's meeting is already underway. Mark your calendar to join new DSPN chair Michael Wang for Spine Summit 2019 at the Fontainebleau in Miami, Florida, March 14 - 17th. 

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