SpineFEST 2019

Jul 31, 2019
Nadia Jaber with input from Michael Fehlings and Albert Yee

"SpineFEST 2019" The 11th Annual Academic Spine Day

This year’s SpineFEST marked its 11th anniversary! The event is designed to bring together the Toronto Spine Network, providing an excellent opportunity to share knowledge around the advances in spinal surgery and discuss current issues facing spine care and training in Ontario. SpineFEST also continues to offer University-wide trainees the opportunity to showcase their research and to network with the wider Toronto spine community.

The day kicked off with a keynote address by our visiting esteemed clinician and researcher, Dr. Praveen Mummaneni, a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco, Director of the Cervical Spine Program, and Treasurer for the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Dr Mummaneni presented his work that has advanced minimally invasive spine deformity surgery throughout the world, highlighted the development of novel surgical approaches, and provided specific examples from his own clinical practice. The address was followed by a vibrant discussion between Dr. Mummaneni and members of the Toronto Spine Program-from senior investigator to trainee level.

The remainder of the day was comprised of thematic sessions with talks by faculty and trainee members of the Toronto spine community. The session on advanced techniques, training, and enhanced recovery in spine surgery featured our new faculty, Dr David Lebel, from SickKids Hospital, who presented a talk on early onset scoliosis, the pertinent implementations and new technologies, and Dr Jeremie Larouche, from Sunnybrook Hospital, who shared his perspectives on the pedagogical strategies for the development of new generation of spine surgeons. The session continued with a talk by our faculty Dr Stephen Lewis, from the Toronto Western Hospital, on the optimization of osteotomies in spinal deformity surgery, and concluded with a talk on enhancement of recovery after surgery (ERAS) presented by our guest speaker Dr. Guillaume Lonjon, from Paris Descartes University, and the Canadian-French-Belgian-Swiss CFBS traveling fellow (hosted on tour in Canada by the Canadian Orthopaedic Association). The two sessions triggered enthusiastic and interactive discussions between the speakers panel and participants.

Session II focused on assessing outcomes of spine surgery. Dr. Joel Finkelstein, from Sunnybrook Hospital,  talked about patient-reported outcomes in spine surgery and its past, current, and future directions, Dr. Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan from Lyndhurst Centre followed with a talk about assessment of the upper limb post cervical spine pathology by. Dr Jeff Wilson from Saint Michael’s Hospital concluded the session with a talk on the future implication of machine learning for spine surgery.

The trainee session featured two of our excellent residents. Dr. Jetan Badhiwala, form neurosurgery, presented his work on Redefining and Reclassifying Acute Traumatic Cervical Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury, and the implications for an aging population. Dr Tan Chen, from orthopaedic Surgery provided a talk titled Perioperative Anemia in Minimally Invasive Versus Open Posterior Lumbar Decompression and Fusion for Degenerative Spinal Stenosis.  We concluded the program with outstanding oral presentations by best abstracts awardees. This year we receive around 40 excellent scientific abstract.  Omar Khan, an MD candidate received 1st place award for his outstanding abstract tilted “Machine Learning Models Show Excellent Performance in Prediction of Functional Outcomes after Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury”;  Stecia Marie Fletcher, PhD candidate from the Department of Medical Biophysics awarded 2nd place for her research titled “Focused Ultrasound + Microbubble Mediated Blood-Spinal Cord Barrier Opening (BSCBO) Using Short Burst, Phase Keying Exposures”; the 2nd place award was tie with Muhammad Ali Akbar, PGY4 of Neurosurgery for his abstract titled “ Diagnostic Value of Multiparametric Quantitative MRI in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy”. All successful abstracts were presented and Adjudicated for best e-poster presentation at the e-poster session. We congratulate Christopher Ahuja, PGY 4 Neurosurgery and Jennifer Dermott, Orthopaedic Practitioner at Sickkids hospital, for winning best e-poster presentations.

Save the date for SpineFEST 2020 being held on Monday June 15th next year the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning! We look forward to see you all there!

The U of T Spine Program thanks all our participants and special thanks to Dr. Mummaneni,  for making SpineFEST a great success.  We extend our appreciation to Professors, Andres Lozano, Peter Ferguson, and James Rutka for their ongoing strong support of SpineFEST and the U of T Department of Surgery Spine Program over many years. The Program also extends gratitude to our educational event sponsors and industry partners Medtronic, DePuy Synthes, Zimmer Biomet, and Stryker.

Nadia Jaber with input from Michael Fehlings and Albert Yee