Notes from the David Wong Honorary Winter Spine Conference 2021
The 29th Denver Spine Institute Winter Conference went virtual for 2021, hosted by its namesake, Dr. David Wong.
The change to virtual format posed technical challenges, but also provided several opportunities. As travel was not required, it was possible to recruit two Past Presidents of the Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS) and two Past Presidents of the North American Spine Society (NASS) to join the faculty. Speakers came from Columbia University in New York, Jefferson College in Philadelphia, the University of Southern California and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles as well as local surgeons.
Dr. Dan Riew was the invited John McCulloch MD Memorial Lecturer this year. Dr. Riew had worked closely with Dr. McCulloch at the hands on lab courses for minimally invasive spine surgery at the Practical Anatomy Workshop (PAWS) in St. Louis. McCulloch practiced in Denver and was a partner in the precursor group to the present Denver Spine Surgeons, who carry on the tradition of minimally invasive microsurgery today.
Dr. Riew spoke on patterns of symptoms and related findings on physical exam that help the surgeon identify specific pathologies in the differential diagnosis of neck pain, upper extremity radiation, and the more serious neurologic problem of cervical myelopathy.
The conference also included many debates, including one on “the Neurgenic Octogenarian,” by Drs. Peter Witt and Gary Ghiselli.
At times there were more than 90 attendees on the virtual call. The electronic format allowed more people to view the talks and discussion than were possible at the traditional in-person meetings. Despite the restrictions forced by the Covid pandemic, the 29th Winter Meeting fulfilled its tradition of great academics, lively discussion and camaraderie. We look forward to a “normal” conference next year.