SRS Newsletter
June 2012

President's Message

SRS president

Greetings from Dallas, where a pretty warm summer is already upon us. These past few months have been very productive for the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) as many of our committees have been actively pursuing their 2011-2012 charges, and completing additional work that arose during the year. Within this newsletter, you’ll find numerous reports highlighting committee activities. To all of the members of the SRS involved with this work, I sincerely thank you for your time and efforts.

This year’s IMAST is scheduled for July 18-21 in Istanbul, Turkey. Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD, IMAST Committee Chair has assembled an outstanding program composed of stimulating debates, informative instructional courses, and high-quality podium presentations. In addition, due to the popularity of the Hands-on Workshops, we’ve scheduled two of them in the late afternoon prior to our opening ceremonies on Wednesday evening, July 18. I hope most of you will have the opportunity to attend IMAST this year as it is set in a fantastic venue. For those who do attend, I encourage you to plan a full schedule in order to take advantage of the exceptional educational opportunities.

Our 2012 Annual Meeting is September 5-8 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Once again, this is going to be an excellent opportunity for education. Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS, Program Committee Chair, worked hard with the Program Committee to develop an outstanding program of podium presentations and will be introducing one session with concurrent presentations. In addition, the Education Committee, co-chaired by Mark B. Dekutoski, MD and John R. Dimar, MD, organized excellent Half-Day Courses and Lunchtime Symposia to compliment the scientific sessions. The Pre-Meeting Course, entitled “A Decade of Evolution in Spine Deformity Management: A Critical appraisal of Practice Changes, Outcomes, and Technology” promises to be informative regarding the advancements in our discipline over the past ten years.

It is with a great deal of honor that the SRS recognizes our former president, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD, for his achievement in creating the Foundation of Orthopaedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) Orthopaedic Hospital Rehabilitation Institute. There was a formal dedication for the new institute on April 28, 2012 during which our Global Outreach Committee chair Kenneth J. Paonessa, MD, representing SRS, honored Dr. Boachie-Adjei. Dr. Boachie-Adjei established the FOCOS Institute in 1998 which has provided excellent orthopaedic and spine care to underserved communities in Ghana and West Africa for over a decade. Congratulations, Dr. Boachie-Adjei!

The month of June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. At the time of this writing, the SRS (under the direction of SRS’s new Program Manager, Brian B. Lueth, MBA,) and the National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) (Joseph O’Brien, President) have been successful in obtaining thirty two state proclamations and nine city proclamations declaring June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. Many more states are expected to issue formal proclamations by early June. To date, this has been the most successful nationwide campaign ever for publicizing this very important message of scoliosis awareness. Thank you to all of the SRS members who volunteered to serve as co-sponsors in their respective states, as Brian and Joe made contact with the state representatives.

In the two previous newsletters I made reference to the SRS’s decision to provide financial assistance to a Directed-Research Grant in either safety or long-term outcomes in the pediatric population. We have committed a total of $100,000 over a two-year period, and had solicited proposals from our membership. From the forty abbreviated proposals initially submitted, the ten highest-ranked proposals were selected to submit extensive applications. Under the direction of Kit Song, MD, Chair the Directed-Research Task Force effectively reviewed each of these outstanding applications. I’m pleased to announce that Michael Yaszemski, MD, from the Mayo Clinic was rewarded this Directed-Research Grant for his outstanding proposal entitled, “Long-term pulmonary function, health-related quality of life, and sagittal plane alignment following the treatment of AIS”. Congratulations Dr. Yaszemski. All of us look forward to an outstanding presentation and publication of this very worthwhile long-term outcomes study.

In March, during the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Research Capitol Hills Day, I was fortunate to take one of my scoliosis patients and her mother to Washington D.C., USA to lobby our Senators and Representatives for financial support of National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) orthopaedic research. Research remains one of the primary objectives of our great society, and the SRS’ efforts to continue providing broad support for these programs (many of which provide funding for spinal deformity research) is important. We had excellent responses, and commitments, from the Senate and Representatives’ offices to continue funding NIH and NIAMS orthopaedic research at their current levels.

Also in March, Glenn R. Rechtine, II, MD, Lawrence G. Lenke, MD, Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP and Courtney Kissinger had the formal interview with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). This represented the final step in the application to become a Continuing Medical Education (CME) provider. The interview went very well, and we are optimistic of receiving a positive response from the ACCME in July. Once their decision is made, we’ll notify our membership. If the SRS does become a CME provider, SRS will have additional opportunities to provide outstanding continuing medical education programs, in addition to the Annual Meeting and the International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST).

In April, SRS was well-represented at the 2012 AAOS National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington D.C., USA.  Steven D. Glassman, MD, SRS Vice President organized and led a symposium entitled “Holding Payors to Evidence-Based Standards” which was extremely well-received by those in attendance. Dr. Glassman’s symposium provided excellent clarification on many of the issues we face today when confronted by restrictions from third-party payers. Congratulations, Dr. Glassman, on an excellent symposium.

The Spine Deformity Journal is progressing well under the direction of John Lonstein MD, editor-in-chief. The preview issue, featuring the one-day Pre-Meeting Course from the 2011 Annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, will be distributed at this year’s meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

In January 2013, the journal will formally begin with six issues being published each year. Dr. Lonstein has received a number of excellent manuscripts already. I encourage all of you who have been selected for podium presentations at IMAST and the Annual Meeting to submit your completed manuscripts for publication in Spine Deformity. Doing so will provide you with the opportunity to be published in one of the forthcoming premiere spine-related journals.

We continue to move forward with the concept of developing an Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for Lumbar Degenerative Scoliosis. The Board of Directors had in-depth discussions with a representative from RAND-UCLA, and a proposal for the AUC project has subsequently been submitted to the SRS by RAND. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) has joined to make this a collaborative effort, and we will be taking this proposal to outside funding sources in an effort to move this very worthwhile project forward. Once completed, we think this AUC will be very helpful in our interactions with third-party payors and policymakers.

Finally, the Research Education and Outreach (REO) Fund was successfully established last summer and has proven to have been a sound investment. Under the direction of Paul D. Sponseller, MD, SRS Treasurer and Steven M. Mardjetko, MD, Development Committee Chair and former Treasurer, this balanced fund is being managed by Rockefeller Financial Asset Management. The REO Fund was originally created to provide a vehicle for our non-North American membership and neurosurgical members who wished to contribute financially to the SRS. Its successful creation has led us to recognize that it may also be the ideal fund for all members (including North America members) who wish to make a donation. In fact, one of the SRS Board of Directors’ goals in 2012 is to establish 100% participation by SRS members in contributing to the REO Fund. There are various levels of recognition that have been established depending on the level of giving, but regardless of the amount you wish to contribute, we encourage all of you to give to this very important fund. Along with the OREF, the REO Fund will be the primary base we draw upon for future research and educational opportunities for our membership. As mounting restrictions are continually being placed on corporate sponsorship of our events, we must build our financial base with the REO Fund from this point forward.

In summary, I thank all of you for your untiring hard work this year within your committees and task forces. Never has the SRS been in a stronger position to fulfill its mission statement, that being “to provide optimal care for all patients with spinal deformity”. Please join me in continuing to make every effort to fulfill our mission. Have a wonderful summer, and I hope to see you at IMAST in Istanbul, Turkey.

My very best to you,

B. Stephens Richards

B. Stephens Richards, III, MD
2011-2012 President

Advocacy & Public Policy Committee Promotes Scoliosis Awareness throughout the Nation

Vishwas R. Talwalkar, MD
Advocacy & Public Policy Committee Chair

Vishwas  R. Talwalkar, MD

The Advocacy & Public Policy Committee has continued to be active as a voice for the SRS membership and our patients. Our collaborative work has been focused on several projects. The first is a position statement that briefly summarizes current information on the topic of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis to be used as a reference for third-party payers. This document includes discussion of the diagnosis, evaluation, natural history, conservative treatment, surgical indications, and outcomes. A draft has undergone several iterations and has been submitted for review by the SRS Board of Directors.

Another active area of work has been an ongoing effort to promote June as Scoliosis Awareness Month in the United States. The SRS has worked in coordination with the National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) in an effort to have every Governor issue a proclamation recognizing the 2008 Congressional Declaration that June be recognized as “National Scoliosis Month.” This effort has received tremendous support from the membership and currently there are over 30 states as well as several large municipalities that have proclamations either approved or pending. Over 400 SRS members, or half of the US membership, have signed on as co-sponsors in their respective states, truly a significant reflection of the passion of our membership. Special thanks go to Brian B. Lueth, MBA, in the SRS office for his work on this project.

The most recent topic to gain our attention is an article in the American Journal of Public Health about scoliosis screening. The author references the 2004 recommendations against screening proposed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The author presents the issue from a historical perspective and is extremely critical of the utility of scoliosis screening.  The committee is currently generating a response to this article that will be submitted to the board.

Additionally, we are working with the Website Committee to increase website traffic and reviewing the spinal deformity chapter in the book, Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases which is also a part of the Bone and Joint Initiative. We also continue work with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and other subspecialty societies to monitor the ongoing discussions in Washington, D.C. about the future of healthcare.

Committee Chair: Vishwas R. Talwalkar, MD Committee Members: John P. Lubicky, MD; Richard T. Holt, MD; Anis Mekhail, MD; Jochen P. Son-Hing, MD; Matthew D. Hepler, MD; Brian G. Smith, MD; Baron S. Lonner, MD; Steven M. Mardjetko, MD, FAAP; Linda P. D’Andrea, MD; Michael D. Daubs, MD.


Non-Operative Annual Meeting Lunchtime Symposium

Nigel J. Price, MD
Non-Operative Committee Chair

Nigel J. Price, MD

The Non-Operative Committee will be hosting a Lunchtime Symposium which will give an international perspective on current non-operative techniques for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. The symposium will review the current status of school-screening, concepts in bracing techniques and how to achieve optimum results with bracing. The evidence for scoliosis specific exercise will be reviewed. The quality of life measures for non-operative treatments will be discussed. The presentation will summarize the current evidence for non-operative therapies and will be given by an international panel of experts in non-operative care.

SRS at SpineWeek: May 30-31, 2012

Marinus De Kleuver, MD, PhD
Worldwide Conference Committee Member

Marinus De Kleuver, MD, PhD

The SpineWeek congress was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands from May 28th until June 1st at the RAI Convention Center and attracted over 3000 participants from all over the world. The following eight societies organized their own program during a whole week of parallel sessions: Spine Society of Europe (SSE), the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS), Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS), Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), North American Spine Society (NASS), Sociedad Iberolatinoamericana de Columna Vertebral (SILACO), Brasilian Spine Society (BSS) and Dutch Spine Society (DSS).

The SRS held one of its World Wide Conferences (WWC) at SpineWeek, during two half day sessions on Wednesday May 30th and Thursday May 31st. The courses were well-attended, with a maximum of about 600 attendees!

The Presidential Line was represented by B. Stephen Richards, III, MD who opened the SRS sessions, Kamal N. Ibrahim, MD and Steven D. Glassman, MD. The program had an Adult Deformity session (Adult Degenerative AIS and Adult de Novo Degenerative scoliosis) and a session on Adolescent and Young Adult Deformities (AIS and non-AIS scoliosis). There were debates (e.g. anterior versus posterior surgery in Lenke five curves) and lectures (e.g. “All You Ever Wanted to Know About Genetics but Were Afraid to Ask” by Kenneth MC Cheung, MD). The SRS faculty from all over the globe, including Alberto Ponte, MD, John E. Lonstein, MD, and Kiyoshi Kaneda, MD,  did a truly outstanding job which was reflected by the large audiences.

SRS at SpineWeek: May 30-31, 2012

On the evening of May 30th we attended the SRS dinner at the “West Indies House” which was built in 1623, and was the headquarters of the Dutch West Indies Company, the first to build a fort in New Amsterdam, on Manhattan Island. The statue of Peter Stuyvesant, the first governor of New Amsterdam (now New York) stands in the courtyard and looked down on us while we had our welcome drinks.

Amsterdam has always been a wonderful city, where culture, science and medicine meet. Amsterdam is the Venice of Northern Europe, with its wonderful historic canals and beautiful historic buildings. The weather was exceptional during Spineweek; perfect for evenings when we all managed to enjoy the city at its best.

During the Spineweek, SRS had a booth where Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP and Nilda Toro, Membership Manager, received many guests interested in the SRS.

Special thanks to the faculty representing a numerous countries:  United States faculty included B. Stephen Richards, III, MD, Kamal N. Ibrahim, MD, FRCS, MS; Steven D. Glassman, MD; Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD; Jacob M. Buchowski, MD, MS.  Luiz Munhoz da Rocha, MD, from Brazil; Kenneth Cheung, MD, from Hong Kong, China; Henry F.H. Halm, MD, from Germany; S. Rajasakaran from India; Andre Kaelin from Switzerland and the great support by Tressa Goulding and Nilda Toro who all made this event possible,

Marinus de Kleuver
Ahmet Alanay

Historian’s Corner: Albert C. Schmidt, MD and the Milwaukee Brace

David H. Clements, III, MD
Historical Committee Member

David H. Clements, III, MD

Although bracing was begun for treating scoliosis in the 1950s, its efficacy and utility continue to be subjects of debate on the podium and in posters. The first brace to be developed and widely used was the Milwaukee Brace, named for the city of its inventors Walter P. Blount, MD and Albert C. Schmidt, MD. Dr. Blount’s name is still widely spoken, but Dr. Schmidt has undeservedly faded into obscurity. Thanks to David B. Levine, MD, Scoliosis Research Society Past President 1979 and Director of Hospital for Special Surgery Alumni Association, we are able to review Dr. Schmidt’s accomplishments and discuss his most important contribution.

Dr. Schmidt was an engineer before he was a surgeon. He trained at the Hospital for Special Surgery as a Fellow when John R. Cobb, MD was performing scoliosis surgery there using a technique of posterior fusion through a turnbuckle cast. The cast was used to obtain correction postoperatively and the patients were kept at bed rest for up to six months. Dr. Schmidt then went on to practice at the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin. In 1945, he and Dr. Blount developed the brace as an alternative to the turnbuckle cast. At first the brace was used as postoperative immobilization only for thoracic curves, which were to be fused.

(Left-Right): Schmidt and Blount with patient.

The brace was custom fitted to the patient who then wore it up to three weeks pre-operatively to “get used to it.” Then with adjustments of the brace pre-operative correction of the scoliosis occurred. The brace was removed prior to performing the posterior fusion, then reapplied postoperatively and subsequently lengthened for four weeks to obtain further correction. The patient was maintained at bed rest for five months to minimize pseudoarthrosis. Interestingly, Drs. Schmidt and Blount recommended using the brace sparingly in non-operative management, except near the end of growth or in chronic poliomyelitis. The brace continued to be developed and used into the seventies. Dr. Schmidt was one of the founding members of the SRS in 1966. He was elected to the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) in 1952. He was president of the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Alumni Association in 1955-56. He died in 1982.

Committee Chair: Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD Committee Members: Nathan H. Lebwohl, MD, Past Chair; Vishal Sarwahi, MD; David H. Clements, III, MD; Azmi Hamzaoglu, MD; Reinhard D. Zeller, MD; Lawrence I. Karlin, MD.

Medical Decision Modeling: The Facts

Mark Dekutoski, MD
Education Committee Co-Chair

Mark Dekutoski, MD

The Education Committee has chosen to highlight the efforts of the Scoliosis Research Society Board of Directors (BOD) in enhancing the spine community’s understanding of the societal impact of spine disease, interventions and payer relations.  In collaboration with Covance Services, the SRS BOD has directed an effort to educate the spine community on Medical Decision Modeling in an effort to afford a common language and communication tool for providers to advocate to payers regarding interventions that enhance the quality of life for our patient community. 

Much akin to the methods in “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” (D.Stone/Penguin) the methods and concepts in Medical Decision Modeling evoke engagement in a common language, engaging shared interests in patient welfare and demonstrating prudent economic evaluation. With maturation of Medical Decision Modeling the goal is to help mold interactions and insurance carrier decisions into informed, relevant and patient focused policy.

What is Medical Decision Modeling?

  • A Medical Decision Model is a tool for evaluating the clinical AND economic impact of interventions for a given clinical condition.
  • Models simulate reality in a simple, straightforward manner.

Why are Medical Decision Models Useful?

  • Aid decision-making by evaluating and communicating the clinical-economic impact of alternative medical technologies and practice patterns (i.e., weighs the benefits versus costs)
  • Allow integration of numerous data sources into a single analysis
  • Enable simulation and investigation of outcomes beyond the timeframe for which data may exist
  • Allow for evaluation of “What if…” scenarios
  • Allow for evaluation of the impact of uncertainty on results and conclusions

There are Three Major Types of Medical Decision Models
1.  Cost-of-Illness Models

  • Used to estimate costs only (e.g., What is the economic burden of adult degenerative scoliosis in the United States?)
  • Does not consider effectiveness of interventions per se
  • Does not compare interventions

2.  Budget Impact Models

  • Used to estimate costs only (e.g., What is the cost of covering a specific intervention in the population of interest?)
  • Compares two or more alternative treatments
  • Assumes equivalent effectiveness of interventions

3.  Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Utility Models

  • Used to compare the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of two or more alternative interventions (often new intervention vs. standard of care)
  • Costs and effects are expressed in different units
  • Results most commonly expressed as incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained

When and why are these models used? Who is the end user?

1. Cost-of-Illness Models

  • Establish burden of illness and unmet need

2. Budget Impact Models

  • Estimate the economic impact to a payer (cost per member per month, and annually for beneficiaries) of covering an intervention (e.g., procedure)
  • Models can be customized for a specific health plan and are particularly influential to payers

3. Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Utility Models

  • Identify the additional costs associated with a unit increase in effectiveness
  • Allows comparison across interventions and conditions to prioritize allocation of scarce resources
  • Publications presenting the methods and findings of cost-effectiveness and cost-utility models influential to payers (particularly in Europe) and providers

Committee Co-Chairs: Mark B. Dekutoski, MD; John R. Dimar, MD Committee Members: Joseph H. Perra, MD; Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS; Brian Hsu, MD; Adam L. Wollowick, MD; Lukas P. Zebala, MD; Eric T. Jones, MD; Glenn R. Rechtine, II, MD; Paul D. Sponseller, MD; Lori A. Karol, MD; Daniel W. Green, MS, MD, FACS; Sigurd H. Berven, MD; John C. France, MD; Kit M. Song, MD, MHA.

Growing Spine: Growing Knowledge

Suken A. Shah, MD
Growing Spine Committee Chair

Suken A. Shah, MD

The Growing Spine Committee has worked over the past year to educate patients and their families and distill the exploding body of knowledge in this area for our members. 

A white paper describing the current state-of-the-art evaluation and treatment of the growing child with a spinal deformity, prepared by John Tis, MD, with contributions from other members of the committee and edited by Past-Chair Lawrence I. Karlin, MD, was submitted to the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

The content on the SRS website pertaining to Patient Education and Early Onset Scoliosis (EOS) was completely updated and re-organized into more contemporary terminology, treatment methods and illustrations along with a summary of the current clinical experience. This project was spearheaded by Ron El-Hawary, MD. We are currently in the process of formulating a glossary of terms (some of which did not even exist ten years ago) for the website pertaining to EOS.

While the current level of evidence does not allow us to prepare Best Practice Guidelines, the SRS Board of Directors has recently charged us with preparing a consensus statement for the treatment of the growing spine, so look for this soon!

Collaborative efforts continue with the International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis (ICEOS) and Growing Spine Meeting, November 15-16, 2012, in Dublin, Ireland, endorsed by SRS.  Michael J. Mendelow, MD, Chair Elect of the Growing Spine Committee is serving on the Program Committee of this meeting.

We invite any comments or suggestions from the membership for future endeavors.

Committee Chair: Suken A. Shah, MD  Committee Members: Lawrence I. Karlin, MD; Ron El-Hawary, MD; John Tis, MD; Bruce L. Gillingham, MD; Eric T. Jones, MD; Ernesto S. Bersusky, MD; Michael J. Mendelow, MD; Kan Min, MD; Hilali Noordeen, FRCS; David L. Skaggs, MD; Edward P. Southern, MD; Dror Ovadia, MD; John T. Smith, MD; Brian D. Snyder, MD, PhD.

Nominating Committee Update

Lawrence G. Lenke, MD
Nominating Committee Chair

Lawrence G. Lenke, MD

The Nominating Committee is charged with recommending a slate of three Directors at Large to the SRS Board of Directors, a new member of the Fellowship Committee, and the Vice President for the Society who enters the Presidential Line. These charges are obviously very important and discussions and decisions are based on meritocracy, leadership skills and with full transparency at every step of the way. The recommended slate of new officers will be presented to the membership for voting at the first business meeting in Chicago, Illinois, USA this September at the 47th Annual Meeting and Course. The committee would like to thank SRS Executive Director, Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP who has worked with members of the SRS staff to provide detailed documentation of the nominees past roles within the society, including committee assignments, meetings attended, papers presented, and other criteria utilized in the committee's important work. We have found this process to be very difficult because of the many highly qualified individuals nominated to these various leadership positions within the SRS, but we promise to make decisions that are in the best interests of the Society. The nominees proposed by our committee will be provided in a separate newsletter as to inform the membership of these proposed new leaders well in advance of the first business meeting in Chicago. We appreciate the opportunity to serve the Society in this most important capacity.

Committee Chair: Lawrence G. Lenke, MD Committee Members: Serena S. Hu, MD; Peter O. Newton, MD; Paul S. Sponseller, MD; Mark Weidenbaum, MD.

Patient Education Committee Update

Christopher Bergin, MD
Patient Education Committee Chair

Christopher Bergin

One of the primary goals of the Scoliosis Research Society is patient education, and we do that in a number of ways. In the past, we relied a great deal on written material. Today, we are increasingly relying on electronic and internet-based media. In the last two years there has been a dramatic overhaul of the SRS website, including the Patient and Family Section, which is where you will find most of the information you would want to give to your patients. The Patient Education Committee oversees all of the content in this section and provides content specifically for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and spondylolisthesis. A comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) was added by our committee two years ago and adopted by the AAOS website as well. As you might imagine, keeping information up-to-date across the Patient/Family section is a never-ending process.

In addition to content created by our numerous committees, SRS is frequently approached by outside organizations to place their information on our website.  The Patient Education Committee is often asked to review these requests and weigh in on the value and appropriateness of the information. A recent case in point is the Harms Study Group (HSG) Handbook, which is a comprehensive guide for patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Working in collaboration with the Presidential Line and the Website Committee, we are proud to announce that the HSG Handbook will soon be available to the public through our website. We want to recognize the value of HSG and the many other non profit organizations that contribute to the care of spinal deformity patients.  A list of these organizations can be found under “Links” of the Patient and Family section.

This year, the Patient Education Committee had a request from B. Stephens Richards, III, MD to create an informed consent module for idiopathic scoliosis surgery. This module will be designed to educate specifically those patients and family considering surgical intervention. The program will describe normal and abnormal anatomy, treatment options, surgical intervention and its risk and complications, as well as what to expect while recovering. Our goal will be to both educate and give strong informed consent. This module will likely serve as a template for other spinal deformity surgical models such as congenital deformity, kyphosis, and spondylolisthesis. We plan on having a preliminary module available by the 47th Annual Meeting in September.

Committee Chair: Christopher Bergin, MD Committee Members: Jay Shapiro, MD; Abdul Rakib Selah Al-Mirah, MD; Ahmad Nassr, MD; Michael C. Albert, MD; Andrew K. Cree, MD;  James T. Guille, MD; D. Raymond Knapp, MD; Toni Cawley, MD; Robert P. Huang, MD; Patricia N. Kostial, MD.

3D Scoliosis Committee Update, June 2012

Hubert Labelle, MD and Carl-Eric Aubin PhD, P.Eng
3D Scoliosis Committee Chair and Co-Chair

Hubert Labelle, MD

Over the past year, the 3D Scoliosis Committee has kept busy pursuing its three main mandates of developing a 3D classification of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, performing 3D analysis of scoliosis treatment by improving the da Vinci view (transverse plane view) to evaluate 3D scoliotic deformities, and promoting 3D analysis of scoliosis.

One of the main challenges remains to present the additional and complex information brought by adding the third dimension into an understandable manner. The committee has proposed a graphic display of the transverse plane (or ‘’top view’’) of scoliosis which allows a better understanding of how the various curves seen in the frontal plane are oriented in space and how correction in 3D can be achieved after surgery, such as in the example shown below, before and after surgical correction. The committee is also characterizing normal spines to have reference values for the planes of maximum curvature.

A well-attended Symposium on 3D analysis of scoliosis was organized by the 3D Scoliosis Committee and held during the 46th Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. The various presentations allowed committee members to explain and illustrate the committee’s work over the past few years. The presentations are available in the SRS Member’s Only section of the SRS website.

Two peer-reviewed grants have been obtained to support the research activities from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (“Towards a 3-D classification of AIS”; 2010-13) and OREF (“Prospective Multi-center analysis on 3D factors involved in the decision to perform a selective vs. non-selective fusion in AIS”; 2012-15).

We wish to acknowledge all members of the committee for their work over this past year, with special thanks to the core members: Lawrence G. Lenke, MD; Peter O. Newton, MD; Roger P. Jackson, MD; Stefan Parent, MD, PhD; Ian A. F. Stokes, MD, PhD and Virginie Lafage, PhD.

Committee Co-Chairs: Hubert Labelle, MD; Carl Eric Aubin, PhD, P.Eng Committee Members: Lawrence G. Lenke, MD; Roger P. Jackson, MD; Peter O. Newton, MD; Stefan Parent, MD, PhD; Pierre Roussouly, MD; Virginie C. Lafage, PhD.

Treasurer's Report

Paul D. Sponseller, MD

Paul D. Sponseller, MD

The Financial Health of the SRS remains strong.  We continue to be blessed by excellent professional management under the supervision of Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP and her staff.  Dan Nemec CPA, Vice President of Executive Director Inc., is intimately involved in the process and is a trusted professional advisor. Last year SRS had a general income over expenses of almost $100,000, led mostly by the overage of the Annual Meeting. IMAST had a small loss, due, in part to the expense of its location in Copenhagen, Denmark. Each of the Worldwide Courses made a slight profit.

Key leadership met for a financial summit in Chicago, Illinois, USA in January and prepared this year’s budget. According to budget, we will essentially break even in 2012. The Annual Meeting in Chicago is expected to have a smaller profit due to the expense of Chicago, and IMAST in Istanbul will likely have income slightly above expenses.  In addition, industry support is slightly down over previous years from its peak in 2008. Consolidation within the spine industry creates challenges for maintaining levels of support.  If the trend continues, we will rely more on member support and other avenues.

The Research, Education and Outreach (REO) Fund, under the able management of Rockefeller Financial Asset Management, has done well. The portfolio has out-performed its benchmark.  REO has a return of 17% net after expenses over the past six months, versus a bench mark return of 16% percent. I’m also grateful to the Investment Task force of James Roach, MD and Serena Hu, MD for their advice and support as we monitor the progress of the REO Fund. The REO Fund will be an additional source of support for research and other projects beginning in 2013. The Board of Directors has approved an endowment style use of these funds, taking 4% of the principal averaged over the lesser of the last eight quarters or life of the fund. The work of Steven M. Mardjetko, MD and the Development Committee is important as we strive to grow this corpus as much as possible.  Please also see the report from the Corporate Supporters Committee to understand the projected trends in this sector of our income. 

Please also feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the financial health of SRS.

Awards and Scholarship Committee Update

Stephen Lewis, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Awards and Scholarship Committee Chair

Stephen Lewis, MD, MSc, FRCSC

On behalf of the Awards and Scholarship Committee, we are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s awards and scholarships.

Walter P. Blount Humanitarian Award 2012
Anthony Rinella, MD will be honored as the 2012 recipient of the Walter P. Blount Humanitarian Award for his generous contributions of his time and skills in providing spinal care in developing countries. Dr. Rinella’s dedication to this cause has been an inspiration to many surgeons and his commitment is highly valued by the Society. We appreciate Dr. Rinella’s great efforts in providing this much-needed care.

Edgar G. Dawson Fellowship 2012
Justin Smith, MD, PhD was awarded the 2012 Edgar G. Dawson Fellowship. Dr. Smith is a well-deserved recipient of this award, which will provide him the opportunity to visit K. Daniel Riew, MD at Washington University for a two to three-week fellowship in spinal deformity surgery.

Global Outreach Program Educational Scholarship 2012
Pankaj Kandwal, MD and Sambhav Shah, MD are this year’s recipients of the 2012 GOP Educational Scholarship.  This prestigious award provides winners with travel, accommodations and registration to attend the 47th Annual Meeting & Course in Chicago, Illinois, USA. We look forward to seeing them there.

Global Outreach Program Visiting Fellowship 2012
Abdul Rakib Al-Mirah, MD and Krishna Kumar Ramachandran Nair, MD are the recipients of the 2012 GOP Visiting Fellowship. This prestigious award provides the winners the opportunity to travel for a two to three-week visit to a host SRS site of their choice to further their education and training in spinal deformity surgery. Dr. Al-Mirah will visit Kirkham B. Wood, MD at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Ramachandran Nair will visit Lawrence G. Lenke, MD at Washington University. 

DePuy SRS Traveling Fellows 2012
The 2012 DePuy SRS Traveling Fellows are Ian Harding, FRCS (Orth) (UK), Srinivasa Vidyadhara, MS, DNB, FhB (India), and Elias Papadopoulos, MD (Greece). They will be chaperoned by Michael McMaster, MD, DSc, FRCS through North American spine centers in Philadelphia, Dallas, St. Louis and Chicago. The fellows’ last stop will be the 47th Annual Meeting & Course in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Eduardo R. Luque Award 2012
The Awards Committee in collaboration with SILACO has selected Mauricio Montalvo, MD of Mexico to be the inaugural recipient of the Eduardo R. Luque Award. The award commemorates the great contributions Dr. Luque made to spinal surgery and is awarded to a young spinal deformity surgeon from Latin America. Dr. Montalvo will have the opportunity to receive travel, accommodations and registration to the 47th Annual Meeting & Course or to visit a host SRS site for a two-week observation to further his education and skills in spinal deformity surgery.

Committee Updates
The SRS website has been updated with a simplified summary of all awards that includes a brief description of the awards, eligibility criteria, application deadlines, notification dates and links to the appropriate application forms. A standardized grading system has been created for each award. The application forms have been structured to correspond with the standardized grading sheets.

Chair Elect
The Awards Committee is pleased to announce Lawrence L. Haber, MD will assume the role of chairman of the Awards and Scholarship Committee following the 47th Annual Meeting & Course in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Dr. Haber has worked hard in instituting the necessary changes made in the awards processes and we wish him the best in leading this committee.

The Awards Committee members have been pleased to be involved with the prestigious SRS awards and would like to congratulate the 2012 award winners.

Committee Chair: Stephen J. Lewis, MD, MSc, FRCSC Committee Members: Kenneth J. Paonessa, MD; Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS; John M. Flynn, MD; Jahangir K. Asghar, MD, Sean Molloy, MBBS, MSc, FRCS; Yongjung J. Kim, MD; Preston J. Phillips, MD; Lawrence L. Haber, MD; Hubert Labelle, MD; Hilali H. Noordeen, FRCS; David M. Montgomery, MD; Avraam Ploumis, MD, PhD; John M. Wattenbarger, MD.

Continuing Medical Education Committee Update: AAOS and ACCME

Glenn R. Rechtine, II, MD
CME Committee Chair

Glenn R. Rechtine, II, MD

The Continuing Medical Education (CME) Committee has had a busy year so far. SRS applied for ACCME Accreditation in December 2011 and interviewed with ACCME surveyors in March. Glen R. Rechtine, II, MD; Lawrence G. Lenke, MD; Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP and Courtney Kissinger participated in the interview and promoted SRS’s culture of excellence in education and research with a focus on patient safety and prevention of complications. SRS will receive the ACCME’s decision in July or August.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) will be providing the CME certification for the upcoming 19th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) and 47th Annual Meeting. ACCME now requires that potential conflicts of interest not only be disclosed but must be “resolved.” The deadlines for reviews will be earlier this year to allow more time for that resolution process. Content needs to be reviewed from every presentation for each of the meetings. 

Members of the CME, Program, and IMAST committees review abstracts, handouts and other presentation content to determine if a potential conflict of interest exists. If a reviewer suspects a conflict exists, he or she can request the presentation slides for review. In most cases a review of the presentation slides confirms that no conflict exists. In the few situations where conflicts are identified, the three-member Non-Conflicted Subcommittee is asked to review the presentation slides and resolve the conflict. Resolving a conflict may be anything from asking for minor changes (such as removing the use of brand names) to withdrawing the presentation in rare and extreme cases.

The process of identifying and resolving conflicts takes several weeks and its success is dependent on the contributions of reviewers, presenters, committee members and staff.  The CME Committee also developed a new policy after the 2011 Annual Meeting which states that presenters who fail to cooperate with the CME review by addressing pertinent CME review issues will have their presentation removed from the program and will receive a one year ban from abstract presentations and a three year ban from invited presentations.

The CME Committee continually explores new and better ways to educate our membership.  We welcome input from anyone who has any ideas.  Please contact Courtney Kissinger ( with your suggestions.

Committee Chair: Glenn R. Rechtine, II, MD Committee Members: Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS; Ronald A. Lehman, MD; Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD; Richard E. McCarthy, MD; Lawrence G. Lenke, MD; Frank J. Schwab, MD.

2011 Corporate Supporters

Double Diamond Level Support

Depuy Spine K2M Medtronic

Diamond Level Support


Platinum Level Support

Synthes Spine

Gold Level Support


Globus Medical


Silver Level Support

Nuvasive Zimmer Spine  

Bronze Level Support

Ackermann Medical GmbH & Co. KG
Alphatec Spine, Inc.
Biomet Spine
Biospace Med
Ellipse Technologies, Inc.
Elsevier Canada
Exactech, Iinc.
FzioMed, Inc.
Lippencott Williams& Wilkins
NuTech Medical
Orthofix, Inc.
Paradigm Spine
Showa Ika
Spineguard, Inc.
Spine View
Vexim SAS

Sponsors In-Kind

DePuy Spine SpineCraft  

Strategic Plan

GOAL 1. Funding: The Scoliosis Research Society will have a funding base large and diversified enough to ensure financial independence in funding research and sound fiscal operating policies.

GOAL 2. Research: The Scoliosis Research Society will be the global source of research on spinal deformities

GOAL 3. Education: The Scoliosis Research Society will be the global source of education on spinal deformities

GOAL 4. Globalism: Through its members and programs, the Scoliosis Research Society will improve spinal deformity care globally

GOAL 5. Advocacy: The Scoliosis Research Society will be recognized as the leading resource for information and public policy on spinal deformities.

GOAL 6. Society Leadership: The Scoliosis Research Society will operate in a manner consistent with its stature as the pre-eminent spinal deformity society.

Vision Statement

The SRS will increase its recognition domestically and internationally as the leading source of information and knowledge on spinal disorders affecting all patients, regardless of age.