Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD
IMAST Committee Chair
A very successful 20th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques was recently held on July 10-13, 2013 at the Vancouver Convention Center in Vancouver, British Columbia. Both the venue and weather were outstanding and contributed to the success of the event. The IMAST meeting continues to be a great success with over 750 total attendees with 525 medical registrants. There was widespread international participation with over half of the physicians coming from outside of North America. Registrants from 32 different countries attended the meeting with particularly strong representation from Japan, Peoples Republic of China, Japan, India, Thailand and Singapore.
An IMAST taskforce was commissioned by the SRS Presidential Line to improve the breadth, scope and content of the IMAST meeting. Some of the changes incorporated into the 20th IMAST meeting included a more balanced program with one third of the program devoted to degenerative conditions of the entire spine, one third focused on trauma, tumor and infection related topics and limiting one third of the program to spinal deformity. The IMAST committee consisting of Jacob M. Buchowski, MD; Kenneth M.C. Cheung, MD; Samuel K. Cho, MD; Benny T. Dahl, MD, PhD, DMSci; John R. Dimar, MD; Patrick C. Hsieh, MD, MSc ; Andrew H. Jea, MD; Panagiotis G. Korovessis, MD, PhD; Toshiaki Kotani, MD, PhD; Morio Matsumoto, MD; Frank Schwab, Frank J. Schwab, MD; and Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS, generated the well-received scientific program. Using the reviews from the last two IMAST meetings, there was an increase in the number of instructional course lectures and debates included in this year’s program. Some of the more popular Instructional Course Lectures included: "Management of Metastatic Spine Disease", "Emerging Technologies in Spine Surgery", "Adult Deformity: Surgical Planning & Techniques", "Pediatric Deformity: Surgical Planning & Techniques and Management of Primary Spine Tumors". Two of the Roundtable Sessions, that were particularly well received, were "Ethical Dilemmas in Spinal Surgery" and "Controversies in Physician and Industry Relations".
There were over 1500 abstracts submitted in 2013 from which 185 papers where accepted for presentation. The paper presentations covered the entire spectrum of spinal pathology and were the principle source of the outstanding scientific program. There were numerous highly rated papers considered for the Whitecloud Awards. "Surgical Treatment of Pathological Loss of Lumbar Lordosis (Flatback) in the Setting of Normal Sagittal Vertical Axis (SVA) Achieves Similar Clinical Improvement as Surgical Treatment for Elevated SVA" presented by Justin S. Smith, MD, won the Whitecloud Award for the Best Clinical Paper while "Effect of Intermittent Administration of Teriparatide(PTH1-34) on BMP Induced Bone Formation in a Rat Spinal Fusion Model" presented by Takashi Kaito, MD, PhD; won the Whitecloud Basic Science Award.
Responding to suggestions of prior meeting attendees who were having increasing difficulty attending meetings with only poster presentations, two-minute point presentations were added with a reduction in the number of posters accepted. Fifty-one two-minute point presentations that were limited to six slides each were presented. This format worked extremely well and got almost universally favorable reviews on the evaluations.
A popular aspect of the IMAST program is the multiple Concurrent Sessions occurring simultaneously. The Concurrent Sessions allow each of the attendees to tailor the scientific program to optimize the learning experience. Several of the historically most popular sessions are presented on two occasions. It is recognized that sometimes there are two or more sessions occurring at the same time that are of interest. In order to address this, the entirety of the scientific program has been videotaped and archived on the SRS website where it will be available to the SRS membership and all IMAST attendees.
Planning has already started for the 21st IMAST meeting that will be held on July 16-19, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. Valencia is located on the western seacoast of Spain, on the banks of the Turia River and the Gulf of Valencia. It is known for fantastic weather, exciting nightlife, numerous diverse shops and museums and has a charming old town center. The meeting will be at the Valencia Conference Center that is located within walking distance of the downtown historical center. Meliã Valencia & Sercotel Sorolla Palace Hotels are beautiful, modern and are adjacent to the conference center. The IMAST program committee is committed to bringing another stimulating, diverse and informative scientific program.
Committee Chair: Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD Committee Members: Todd J. Albert, MD – Past Chair; Jacob M. Buchowski, MD; Kenneth M.C. Cheung, MD, Samuel K. Cho, MD; Benny T. Dahl, MD, PhD, DMSci; Patrick C. Hsieh, MD, MSc ; Morio Matsumoto, MD; Justin S. Smith, MD; John R. Dimar, MD; Andrew H. Jea, MD; Panagiotis G. Korovessis, MD, PhD; Toshiaki Kotani, MD, PhD; Frank J. Schwab, MD; Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS