Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD
IMAST Committee Chair
The Scoliosis Research Society has just completed the very successful 19th International Meeting on Advanced Spinal Techniques (IMAST) in historic and beautiful Istanbul, Turkey. This year, the IMAST Committee substantially restructured the program to enhance and broaden international involvement and to focus on evidence-based spine care, complication avoidance, emerging technologies, and surgical technique pearls from recognized international leaders in spinal surgery. The ability to easily access the broad variety of educational choices including general session podium presentations, instructional course lectures, debates and hands on workshops was facilitated by the convenient Istanbul Congress Center (ICC). One hundred-thirty-four oral presentations and 791 electronic posters were presented during the course of the meeting. The social programs were exceptionally well-attended, including the Course Reception held at the Halic Congress Center, highlighted by the Fire of Anatolia performance in the Sadabad Auditorium. This Turkish dance group consisted of more than 120 performers.
The group has performed in more than 85 countries from the U.S. to China and Japan, and holds two Guinness World Records, one for fastest dance performance with 241 steps per minute and another for largest audience.
The SRS Presidential Line's goal of both further growing participation at IMAST and broadening international participation was reflected in the faculty and medical attendees at this year's program. There were 961 registered attendees, including 643 surgeons, 171 exhibitors and 147 guests. The international scope of the meeting was demonstrated by 27% of attendees from Asia/Australia/NZ, 24% from Europe, 11% from Africa/Middle East, 5% from South America and 33% from North America. The medical attendees included 76% orthopaedic surgeons, 14% Neurosurgeons and 10% other medical specialties.
The Whitecloud Awards for Best Clinical Paper and Best Basic Science Paper were awarded at the close of the meeting on Saturday, July 21. Praveen Mummaneni, MD accepted the Whitecloud Award for the Best Clinical Paper on behalf of his co–authors on Paper #7, "Cost Effectiveness of Single-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Five Years after Surgery." The Whitecloud Award for Best Basic Science Paper was accepted by Peter O. Newton, MD on behalf of the authors of Paper #13, "Three Dimensional Visualization of the Intervertebral Disc: The Effects of Growth Modulation."
Also, on behalf of the IMAST Committee, and the SRS Presidential Line, I would like to extend sincere and profound thanks to the Local Host Committee in Istanbul, headed by Azmi Hamzaoglu, MD and Ahmet Alanay, MD. The success of this year's IMAST meeting is largely attributable to their dedicated and substantial work on behalf of SRS. We offer sincere appreciation for all they have done in support of the meeting and of the Society.
The 20th IMAST will be held July 10-13, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The meeting hotels include the Pan Pacific which is connected to the Vancouver Convention Center (VCC) and the Fairmont Waterfront and Fairmont Pacific Rim which are a three-minute walk VCC. Vancouver International Airport was recently named "The Best Airport in North America" and is an ideal port of entry for international visitors. Vancouver attractions include Stanley Park near downtown with a 13-mile "seawall" trail, the internationally renowned Vancouver Aquarium, the Granville Island Public Market and some of the best restaurants in North America.
The evaluations from the 19th IMAST meeting will used by the Program Committee to further improve and broaden the educational offerings in Vancouver. The abstract submission open date for 20th IMAST is November 1, 2012 and the abstract deadline is February 1, 2013. Registration will open in January 2013. It is the goal of the IMAST program committee to further build on the successes of the previous IMAST meetings. The IMAST Committee would especially like to thank Todd J. Albert, MD for the dedication, leadership and mentoring as the past IMAST Committee Chair. The success of the 19th IMAST can be almost entirely be attributed to the always outstanding SRS administrative team, especially Executive Director, Tressa Goulding CAE, CMP and Megan Kelley, Meetings Director.
Committee Chair: Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD Committee Members: Todd J. Albert, MD; Jacob M. Buchowski, MD; Charles H. Crawford, III, MD; Benny T. Dahl, MD; Morio Matsumoto, MD; Justin S. Smith, MD; Mark B. Dekutoski, MD; John R. Dimar, MD; Michael F. O'Brien, MD.