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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Annual Meeting, Feb. 14-18, 2007

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Annual Meeting

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' (AAOS) 74th annual meeting took place in San Diego, Calif., on Feb. 14-18, 2007. "It was a very well-attended meeting with more than 28,000 people attending, 12,000 of whom were physicians," said Frederick M. Azar, M.D., of the University of Tennessee in Memphis, chairman of the Academy's instructional course lecture committee.

"One of the overall themes was trying to bring together all the specialty organizations within the AAOS so they can work together as a single unit," he said.

Frank Kelly, M.D., of Forsyth Street Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Center in Macon, Ga., the chair of the Academy's communications cabinet, agreed that unity was a big focus of the 2007 meeting. "The AAOS has grown so big and with specialization more and more a part of orthopaedic surgery, we wanted to see what we could do to work with the 25 specialty societies and bring everyone under the same roof," he explained. To accomplish this goal, "we unified various education offerings and worked with the various specialty societies," he said. "It is more cost-effective and we really utilize the experts this way."

There was also an emphasis on taking care of extremity war injuries, Kelly said. "A lot of soldiers in Iraq survive because of protective gear, but they have multiple upper and lower extremity injuries and we have been able to help take care of these injuries," he explained.

As in prior meetings, minimally invasive surgeries also garnered a great deal of attention. "A number of technologies and techniques have come out along these lines and they have been another focus of our meeting," he said. "We are now trying to determine and evaluate the effectiveness of these less-invasive technologies, particularly for hip and knee replacement," he said.

Articular cartilage engineering using biologics are another "promising thing on the horizon for our patients," Kelly said. "Scaffolds that hold chondrocytes are being developed by a number of companies and it will be interesting to see which one, or ones, work," he added. "Potentially, this technology could slow down or stop osteoarthritis."

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