Spine Summit 2016 Reaches New Heights

Adam S. Kanter, MD

The 2016 AANS/CNS Spine Summit brought together 11 international spine societies to deliver a record-breaking attendance that truly embraced its theme Global Challenges, Universal Solutions. With nearly 600 medical registrants and more than 50 exhibiting companies, the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando was packed with stimulating discussion, provocative debates, hot topic leaders, and great entertainment.

The March 2016 summit kicked off with a filled-to-capacity opening reception on the Wantilan Pavilion. Tiki torches were ablaze as a lavish array of hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment brought friends and colleagues together for a festive evening.

Spine Section Cadaver Lab

The scientific program began with partner society leaders presenting their most challenging cases in the thought-provoking session How the Masters Avoid Disasters. Honored Guests Christopher Shaffrey and Larry Lenke squared off in a battle royale as they debated deformity principles and practices in an SRS session that included roundtable discussions from renowned neurosurgical and orthopedic thought leaders. Despite seating for more than 500, it was standing room only as Dr. Praveen Mummaneni delivered the chairman’s address and broached the topic of our evolving health care environment and its impact on modern day training and academic practices.

From left: Spine Section Chair Dr. Praveen Mummaneni, DuPuy Synthes Platform Leader
Dan Wildman, and Annual Meeting Chair Dr. Zoher Ghogawala.

Fallen mentors in DSPN history were memorialized by the presentation of the new JANE Award and Kuntz Scholars Awards, which were created in honor of the lifelong contributions made to the section and the field by Dr. John Jane Sr. and Dr. Charlie Kuntz IV, and delivered to more than 30 budding young neurosurgeons.

Afternoons filled thoughtful minds and appetites as our industry partners delivered seven What’s New sessions and four lunch-and-learn sessions on stimulating contemporary topics ranging from minimally invasive lateral access interventions to the latest in spinal cord injury treatment and trials.

Controversial topics were also tackled head on during the Spine Summit. A crowd favorite involved various speaker perspectives from health, payer, and provider systems. The impact of new payment models was contested as the business of medicine intersected with legislative advocacy, patient satisfaction, and quality versus cost disputes, and attendants challenged the concept of more bundling versus bungling.

Cooler deliberations ensued during the sold-out four-hour cadaver lab that introduced state-of-the-art techniques and technology. The lab was taught by expert faculty in stations that focused on lateral access, MIS, endoscopy, deformity correction, and peripheral nerve grafting.

Spine Summit Opening Reception

More than 200 abstracts were delivered throughout the meeting as both young and established speakers commanded the podium in focused specialty breakout sessions including deformity, tumor, trauma, MIS, and peripheral nerve groups. Lunch symposia tackled the management of the osteoporotic patient, oncologic challenges, and the latest and greatest in spinal navigation, and provided even more opportunities for CME.

Friday evening was capped off with a motivational speech by Meritorious Member Award recipient Dr. Philip Weinstein at the Young Neurosurgeons Dinner. A record number of resident and fellow awardees were honored at the dinner for their research and scholarly accolades.

Honored Guest Dr. Phil Weinstein and Dr. Praveen Mummaneni at the Young
Neurosurgeons Dinner

The scientific program concluded as robustly as it began with the section’s traditional Cahill Controversies session featuring past section chairs and contemporaries deliberating over topics new and old, from the utility of interbody grafting in lumbar fusions to optimal sagittal realignment practices. As the meeting wound down, attendants and their families suited up, and off to the theme parks they rode.

Spine Summit 2016 was a raging success form start to finish, and we plan to keep the momentum going into 2017. Plans are already underway for an event-packed and edifying summit held for the first time at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. Plan to join us March 8–11, 2017, as incumbent Chairman Jack Knightly leads the section to the city perfectly designed for disruption and sinnovation!

A RECORD NUMBER OF RESIDENT AND FELLOW AWARDEES WERE HONORED AT THE DINNER FOR THEIR RESEARCH AND SCHOLARLY ACCOLADES.