from Miami Florida!
I'm on the plane from LAX to Miami now. This
SAS is going to be very different
and special for me. While this is my 6th Spine
Arthroplasty Society congress, this is the first
one that my wife, Diane, will attend with me.
Fortunately, in the years past, she's not been
in Spine. While she has traveled with me to several
conferences, she's never attended the sessions
before. Unfortunately, she has this new interest
in spine, because she's now a spine patient.
Last year on May 5th, I was in Berlin for SAS-7,
tennis with Charite' patient number 1 (23 years
post-op!) For Diane, May 5th 2007 was the start
of her spinal oddessy... it was the day that
she came home from work for the first time, thinking
that she had arthritis in her hips. The weeks
come revealed severe degeneration and a massive
disc protrusion at L5-S1. In July, She's sleeping
comfortably next to me, now 5.5 weeks post-op
from her 2nd spine surgery in the last year...
ProDisc with vertebroplasty. This is an interesting
twist of fate. Diane cared for me during my years
of disability. Read about her "Caring
For a Loved One in Pain" presentation
in 2005. we've done a role reversal in the last
year, but I admit...
she's a better spine patient, AND she's a better
flight over was VERY interesting. I sat next
to a rep from Applied
Spine. They have a very
interesting new dynamic posterior stabilization
device called stabilimax (currently
in clinical trial.) This was developed by Manohar
Panjabi, one of the icons of biomechanics.
I've seen him present this device before and
it looks very promising.
will start today with a patient conference this
evening. We are looking
forward to watching
Rich Longland's (ADR support) first patient
conference. He spoke at my patient
conference in NY in 2005.
morning brings a live surgery broadcast and the
start of what looks like another great
I'll do my best to blog as much of it as
I can. It's always a challenge to try to
keep up with
the conference activities, present client
cases, conduct the business I need to discuss,
a little, and create some time to write....
we go... check back here over the days
to come. I'll put the last update date and time
GPN banner page and also list the updates
make your reviewing more efficient. I hope
you find the information useful. Please comment
thread on iSpine.
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While some have been proven safe and efficacious,
are FDA approved and widely available; others
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Some are proven and are just waiting for FDA
approval of the manufacturing process, which
is expected very soon. Some are exciting ideas
that may prove to be very bad ideas; possibly
even harmful disasters. Some represent brilliant
ideas that may ultimately become life-saving
products while others will never make it to
the marketplace. Even for the great products,
development / testing / approval process may
take years or even decades. There is no guarantee
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Items discussed here may never be available
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should not be made based on information found
0 - Monday, May 5, 2008
PM - Patient Seminar - not a great start to the
trip. We'd pre-registered a week ago and had
gone to great effort and expense to get there,
were not allowed to attend the seminar.
PM - We are attending a Vendor dinner at an incredible
Brazillian steakhouse called Texas
de Brazil. Dr.
Zeegers is serious in the office, but he's a
blast to hang out with in a social setting. Also
there was Dr.
Jochen Feil, also
from Germany. I first met Dr. Feil at SAS in Montreal
2 years ago. He's got over 2,000 skydives and I have
over 850. (Although I'm not a jumper since my car
accident in 1997.) He's done ADR surgery on several
professional skydivers. Read about one here.
It was great to talk about skydiving again... that
really gets me going. (Diane has about 20 skydives
was plenty of spine discussed too. We got to
sit with Dr.
Rolando Garcia, a prominent ADR
from aventura, Florida.
In addition to being a top ADR surgeon, Dr. Garcia
is an ADR history buff. I've enjoyed meeting him
at SAS and NASS for the past 5 years. He's got some
amazing stories about the early days of ADR... and
when I say early... I mean back to the 1950's. It's
great to spend some time with Dr. Scott Leary again
too. Although he doesn't have decades of experience
he did his
spine fellowship with Dr.
Regan and is now in practice
Frank Coufal at La Jolla Neurosurgical associates.
great evening and a great way to start the conference
1 - Tuesday, May 6, 2008
09:30 - Taped Live Surgeries: The
morning session started with some taped live surgeries.
session on Tips and Techniques. The presentation
and discussion about how to avoid many potential
pitfalls of lumbar and cervical spine surgery was
like a graphic lession in why YOUR surgery should
be performed by someone with a great deal of experience
with the procedure you are having. It takes more
than just a few procedures... or a few dozen procedures
before you start to develop this kind of experience.
Having done hundreds or thousands of other types
of surgeries does not make you an expert in something
11:30 - Diane gets to thank Thierry
We had an amazingly warm moment this morning as we
caught up with Thierry Marnay, the inventor of
the ProDisc. He's used to seeing me at the conferences
and was very pleasant as always. When Diane thanked
him for inventing the ProDisc and told him that
she was less than 6 weeks post-op, he said, "You've
got 2 ProDiscs?" He was so very happy to hear
our good news... he stepped forward and gave Diane
the warmest hug. We talked for a long time about
so many things... It was such a pleasure to see
him enjoying this so much. I experience a small
taste of this with my work, but for him, the gratification
that he receives from moments like these must be
enormous. This occurred in the back of the main
hall and the moderator of the next session was
clearly perterbed with us, because he was trying
to get the next session started and Dr. Marnay
clearly wanted to keep talking... and the next
session was his!
sessions - Indications, Lumbar and Cervical: The
afternoon started with the debate format. These
The audience will vote on a question, like "Is there
sufficient biomechanical evidence that Artificial
Disc Replacement prevents adjacent level disease."
Then, 2 surgeons will debate pro and con. Often,
a surgeon is clearly debating a position that he
does not embrace. The debaters are usually good friends
and will go to great lengths to roast their buddies.
Sometimes it's quite pointed and I've seen many of
these debates cross the line. These were entertaining
as usual. The lightest moment occured when Pimenta
(Brazil) debated LeHuec (France) and as the debate
came to a close, a video from the France vs. Brazil
world cup final, when Zidane drew a red card (and
IMHO lost the final for France) when he headbutted
Materazzi... but with Pimenta and LeHuec heads pasted
into the video like on a jib-jab cartoon... too funny.
Some of the paper presentations in the afternoon
MIS session that I found interesting were:
#3 A Randomized Trial of Balloon Kyphoplasty and
Nonsurgical Care for Patients with Acute Vertebral
Compression Fractures: One Year Results. I'm used
to seeing a lot of presentations with a lot of numbers
that are not 'statistically significant' and few
numbers that are. Even though this was a comparison
of treatment vs. no treatment, it is for a common
condition that all too often gets no treatment. The
numbers showed a remarkable difference in all relevant
categories. "Conclusion .... woops... sorry to do
this piecemeal... but it's been a long, hard week...
Diane, Taffy and I are off to the beach! More later...
2 - Wednesday, May 7, 2008
3 - Thursday, May 8, 2008
4 - Friday, May 9, 2008
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