I just returned from a three week trip to China, Japan, Canada, and Turkey attending multiple local and regional spine meetings in China, the ACMISST Annual Meeting in Inuyama, Japan, the ISASS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, and then the 6th ISMISS and 5th TURKMISS meeting in Cesme, Turkey.
It has become clear that Asian interest in MIS is increasing at a faster pace than North America (at least for nonfusion MIS decompression). At ISASS, Chinese membership is almost as high as the US, where it is second to the US in membership. In Asia, and in the Middle East, there is much more focus on pain management, MIS decompression and non-fusion MIS techniques than in North America. The techniques that I have utilized and evolved is wholeheartedly accepted with enthusiasm in these areas as contrasted to North America, where surgeons seem to focused solely on fusion or dynamic stabilization utilizing implants of all types.
At the Turkey meeting, Dr. Tolgay Santana invited many of the original pioneers of MIS surgery for a lively discussion and “debate” following case series presentations by Heyun Soon Kim. Many of the original MIS pioneers such as Martin Knight, Tom Hoogland, Hansjoerg Leu, Gun Choi and Akira Dezawa, were present, along with some younger surgeons such as Dr. H. Kim and Robert Saftic, winners of the two best papers.
The panel discussion remained divided into three distinct camps, the endoscopic foraminal access versus the posterior endoscopic translaminar, and the MIS decompression and fusion surgeons. The conclusion was influenced by the surgeon factor, probably the most important factor for the patient selecting his surgeon.
There continues to be increased need for more peer reviewed publications on MIS spine procedures for the diagnosis of painful conditions of the degenerative spine and cost effective MIS treatment options. This is needed to bring our studies to the forefront as spine care practitioners are required more and more to prove cost effectiveness.
At the meeting of peer reviewers for the International Journal of Spine Surgery (IJSS) was given an update on the Journal’s relationship with Elsevier. The anticipated boost from being affiliated with Elsevier did not pan out as hoped.
The Journal director, Jonny Dover and editor-in chief Hansen Yuan, felt that we would be better off to not renew our contract with Elsevier at the end of the year and focus on being an open access Journal rather that one that requires subscription. To this end, IJSS welcomes the small spine societies like IITTSS, and is the official Journal of ISASS. I have committed $5,000 from IITTSS to help fund this transition.
IJSS has also approved a special edition on MIS Diagnostic and Surgical Techniques, and I have accepted the appointment to co-edit this special edition. A follow-up edition on MIS Treatment of Deformity was also discussed.
I am encouraging submission of abstracts and papers for peer review. I am looking at a fast turn around with initial abstracts and papers to be submitted for consideration by July/Sept and publication, the first quarter in 2014, when the Journal will go through PubMed Central. I will work out the details with Jonny Dover and Hansen Yuan. This is an open solicitation for IITTSS supporters to submit your abstracts to me for screening or you may submit directly to the Journal.
I have already contacted many of you individually and have received a favorable response for your participation.
The next Transforaminal Endoscopic Course in Phoenix is June 13-15. Please look at the course announcement and register soon as capacity is limited.