What’s New at Annual Meeting?

By: Joseph A. Bosco III, MD

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Joseph A. Bosco III, MD

The AAOS Annual Meeting is a mainstay of our Academy. It has been, and continues to be, the centerpiece of our educational portfolio. Most importantly, perhaps, it provides attendees with an environment to meet and interact both academically and socially with fellow surgeons.

Just as our profession continues to evolve, so has the AAOS Annual Meeting. To paraphrase Heraclitus, one never steps into the same annual meeting twice. This year is no exception.

Over the last decade, orthopaedics has evolved from a profession predominated by generalists to one dominated by subspecialists. The unprecedented growth in knowledge and adaptation of innovative surgical techniques makes specialization necessary and, most importantly, beneficial to our patients. None of us has the bandwidth to master all the procedures and knowledge across the orthopaedic spectrum. However, Annual Meeting benefits all orthopaedic surgeons by bringing us together to discuss common issues and by providing educational content to fulfill our individual subspecialty needs.

New education tracks

To ensure a more customizable educational experience for attendees, this year’s Annual Meeting agenda includes several innovative programs, including specialized education tracks and bioskills sessions. The education tracks were first introduced 2 years ago under the leadership of 2017 AAOS Annual Meeting Committee Chair Paul Tornetta III, MD. They were piloted on a limited basis for five classifications (Adult Reconstruction Hip, Adult Reconstruction Knee, Pediatrics, Spine, and Trauma). Success of the pilot tracks led to demand—by both specialists and generalists—for additional tracks. As a result, we are proud to offer both general and specialty education tracks in the following classifications:

  • Adult Reconstruction Hip
  • Adult Reconstruction Knee
  • Foot and Ankle NEW!
  • Hand and Wrist NEW!
  • Musculoskeletal Oncology NEW!
  • Pediatrics
  • Shoulder and Elbow NEW!
  • Spine
  • Sports Medicine NEW!
  • Trauma

Each track identifies three consecutive days of programming and educational content in the form of instructional course lectures (ICLs), symposia, and case presentations. For example, the spine general track includes the following:

  • Symposium G “New Paradigms in Global Spine Care: Newborn to Elderly,” Wednesday, 8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
  • ICL 249 “Pediatric and Adolescent Spine Care for the General Orthopaedic Surgeon,” Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
  • ICL 272 “Evidence-based Management of Spine Conditions in the Elite Athlete,” Wednesday, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
  • ICL 331 “MRI of the Spine: Essentials for the Orthopaedic Surgeon,” Thursday, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Case Presentation 387 “Degenerative Spondylolisthesis: An Evidence-Based Assessment of Treatment Options and Outcomes” (separate purchase required: $75), Thursday, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
  • ICL 428 “Management of Adult Lumbar Spine Problems for General Orthopaedic Surgeon: A Practical Guide for 2018,” Friday, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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Participants of case presentation will engage in collaborative table discussions, review case data, and hear the final solution with references to support the selected treatment. This learning activity is just one of many at the AAOS 2018 Annual Meeting.

The spine specialist track consists of:

  • Case Presentation 286 “Cervical Spine Smack Down: Ask the Experts” (separate purchase required: $75), Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
  • ICL 271 “Looking Beyond the Curve: Classification and Treatment of Spinal Deformity in the Orthopaedic Clinic,” Wednesday, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
  • ICL 310 “Pragmatic Learning for New Techniques and Technologies in Spine Surgery,” Thursday, 8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
  • Case Presentation 385 “Adult Spinal Deformity: Surgical Planning and Complications” (separate purchase required: $75), Thursday, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
  • ICL 412 “What is the Role of Anterior, Oblique, Posterior, and Laterally Based Surgery: How Can They Help?” Friday, 8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.


Both the general and specialist tracks offer a robust and well-organized selection of educational content. However, the nuanced differences in offerings between the two tracks are designed to meet the specific educational needs of these orthopaedists. For example, the generalists’ ICLs focus on how a generalist can manage and diagnose spine conditions, how to manage lumbar spine conditions, and when to refer patients to a specialist. In contrast, the ICLs included in the specialty track are focused on specific innovative surgical techniques and geared toward specialists preforming complex spinal procedures.

Bioskills sessions
Bioskills sessions are provided by industry and offer attendees hands-on instruction or demonstrations of the necessary skills required to perform new, innovative procedures. Last year, 19 bioskills sessions were offered by industry; this year, the number offered increased to 23.

Industry Sessions
New for 2018 are Industry Lunch and Learn Sessions, which provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase products, demonstrate techniques, or present research to a targeted audience. Sessions are 45 minutes and will take place from 12:40 p.m.–1:25 p.m. in a classroom setting for 100 or 200 attendees. Complimentary boxed lunches will be provided. Industry Sessions will have no competition with the Academy’s scientific educational program and CME will not be provided. In total, there are 11 Industry Lunch and Learn Sessions taking place over the course of the meeting.

Our profession is in a stage of rapid expansion, both in knowledge and surgical techniques. Lifelong learning enables our members to keep abreast of innovations and provide the best possible care to patients. The increased breadth of orthopaedic surgery has led to the specialization of our profession.

This evolution has benefitted our patients and society. The AAOS understands this trend well and continues to offer innovative educational products to satisfy the needs of an increasing specialized membership. The Annual Meeting leads these efforts. Through the development of education tracks and the incorporation of bioskills sessions, the Annual Meeting provides each attendee with a customizable educational experience. Just as important, it provides a yearly forum for orthopaedic surgeons to interact both personally and professionally.

In this time of “tele-everything,” in-person meetings still play an important role in the professional and personal growth of our members. The Academy’s goal is to provide an Annual Meeting that enables this.

Joseph A. Bosco III, MD, professor and vice chair, NYU Langone department of orthopedic surgery, is the 2018 AAOS Annual Meeting Committee chair. 

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