Program Chair Domagoj Coric kicked off ISASS16 in grand style, welcoming attendees to Vegas and outlining the some of the topics to be discussed during the meeting.

MIS was the first (and second!) order of the day; James Yue and Massimo Balsano moderated a session marked particularly by presentations by Neel Anand on patient selection for sagittal correction, anesthetic effects on urine retention, and some results of the always-fascinating work of the International Spine Study Group as presented by Pierce Nunley.

ISASS President Gunnar Andersson gave his Presidential Address, taking stock of ISASS’s projects and the direction our Society’s headed. We’re merging with other organizations to create the best spine society possible and we’ll be welcoming SMISS and ACSR to the family.

ISASS Co-President Dr. Hee Kit Wong, ISASS16 Guest Speaker Lt. Col. Allen B. West and ISASS Co-President Gunnar B.J. Andersson

Photo: (Left to Right) ISASS Co-President Dr. Hee Kit Wong, ISASS16 Guest Speaker Lt. Col. Allen B. West and ISASS Co-President Gunnar B.J. Andersson.

Dr. Andersson introduced Presidential Guest Speaker Lt. Col. Allen West, who broke down some of the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act and explored health policy around the board. Surgeons, he said, *must* make their voices heard in policy. Expertise, not expediency, must determine what care patients receive.

The third time proved to be quite a charm as the third MIS Session found presentations on complications, lumbar, and the SI joint, followed by MIS sagittal realignment, identifying risk factors for heterotopic ossification, and Lianna Chotikul provided a fascinating look at the differing costs and results between ACDF with allograft and PEEK interbody spacers.

After a luscious lunch, attendees enjoyed a thorough exploration of the hottest of hot topics in spine practice: Ambulatory Spine Centers. Cost differences between hospitalizations and ASCs are significant: ASCs weighed in at only one-fifth the cost of a similar treatment elsewhere. Matthew Gornet provided his tips for a successful ASC: Hire the best people and treat them right to keep them. Start with the easiest cases and work your way up. Create a record of quality, and track your data. Afterward, the different structuring options for an ASC were discussed by Jeff Peo; it’s important to understand your option to maximize revenue and positive outcomes.

ISASS16 Conference Attendees

Photo: ISASS16 conference session.

The afternoon brought the Cervical Session as Ali Araghi and Seok-Woo Kim moderated. J. Kenneth Burkus provided outstanding follow-up on metal blood levels after implantation of metal-on-metal devices–found elevated concentrations up to 84 months out. Shearwood McClelland III took the stage to address the impact of race and insurance status on patient outcomes (factors outside the OR matter!), followed by medical student Dustin Massel who used a large dataset to tease out the complex relationship between operative time and outcomes.

The Tumor, Trauma, Infection, and Image session closed out the time at the primary lecture hall, moderated by Ulrich Berlemann and Stephen Hochschuler. Ehsan Jazini presented a pair of excellent papers on the biomechanics of sacral fracture stabilization; Shearwood McClelland III took the stage again to discuss a prospective and standardized study of infection rates in spine surgery; and Ho-Joong Kim presented on the accuracy of placing pedicle screws freehand vs using robotic assistance.

Following were Oral Poster Breakouts. Choose your favorite flavor: Biomechanics; Melting Pot; Tumor, Trauma, Infection, and Image; or the Spine Smorgasbord. With that, we began the Opening Reception to celebrate a fantastic first day of ISASS16!

Thank you,


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