Scoliosis Symposium Success

Home > Articles > Scoliosis Symposium Success
By Miki Fairley

In an imperfect world, sometimes things do come together almost perfectly. This was the case at a symposium on idiopathic scoliosis presented at the Portland, Oregon, Shriners Hospital for Children, which brought together leading experts in the field.

The passion, enthusiasm, and sharing of valuable information was virtually unmatched by any other conference or symposium, according to many of the participants.

"I thought it was the best spinal course I have ever attended and I felt re-energized by the end of the meeting and was blown away," said Tom Gavin, CO, president and director of clinical services, Bio Concepts Inc, Burr Ridge, Illinois and teaching associate, Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. Gavin added, "The last time I was at a course that was even close to this one was in November 1982 when [Dr. Wilton] Bunch hosted, Advances in Orthotics for Spinal Deformity,' and this one exceeded that."

"It was exciting; it was a gathering of a group of people who really have a passion for scoliosis knowledge and patient care," said Tom Colburn, CO, FAAOP, who assisted Don Helper, CP, Portland Shriners Hospital, in organizing the symposium. Colburn is director of education, Boston Brace International; clinical instructor, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; and chair, Spinal Orthotics Society of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP). "We wanted to present not only theoretical information, but also clinical and technical information. There was a lot of interaction between participants and instructors."

"The presenters were some of the best scoliosis people in the country," said Don Helper, CP, Portland Shriners Hospital, the main organizer of the event. "There was a good cross-section of individuals from about 12 states, mostly in the West, but also some from Florida and New Jersey. Also some new, not-yet-published information was presented."

Topics Cover Wide Range

"The scoliosis symposium in Portland was absolutely fantastic," said Keri Blythe, CO, O&P Clinical Technologies, Gainesville, Florida. Blythe especially appreciated the case presentations. She and some other participants put together PowerPoint presentations about their most challenging scoliosis patient and then presented the case to the entire group. "The case presentations were all thought-provoking and stimulated a lot of debate among the panelists," Blythe said. "It was a fantastic session that led to some interesting ideas for treating the patients. It's amazing to have that many knowledgeable and reputable individuals gathered in one place, offering their opinions on the best approach to their specialty. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet with them and present my case. They were all extraordinarily generous with their time and wisdom."

About 70 attended the symposium, held May 30-31. Included were presentations by recognized experts who discussed the rationale behind their various treatment approaches.

Other lectures covered topics such as radiographic analysis and prescription criteria and treatment for neuromuscular scoliosis, both presented by Tom Colburn; congenital scoliosis, discussed by Ron Turker, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Portland Shriners Hospital; postoperative spinal treatment, presented by Tom Gavin; team approach to scoliosis management, discussed by Carol Hentges, CO, clinical supervisor, Fairview Orthopedic Labs, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the biomechanics of scoliosis and scoliosis bracing, presented by Marty Carlson, CPO, FAAOP, founder and president, Tamarack Habilitation Technologies Inc., Blaine, Minnesota.

The incoming chair of the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), Charles d'Amato, MD, presented a discussion on "Natural History of Idiopathic Scoliosis and Scoliosis Research Society Guidelines for Non-Operative Treatment." Ron Turker, MD, spoke on congenital scoliosis.

Also discussed was the natural history, prescription criteria, and treatment of Scheuermann's Kyphosis, in a lecture presented by Tom Gavin.

Workshops included Boston Brace, by Tom Colburn; Rosenberger Casting Technique, by Tom Gavin; Providence, by Barry McCoy, CPO; Apollo, by Gary Zamosky, CO; Charleston, by Ralph Hooper, CO; and Milwaukee Brace, by Carol Hentges, CO.

Due to the enthusiastic response and participation, plans are being discussed to make the scoliosis symposium an annual event, Colburn said.