October 23-25, 2015 – Larissa, Greece
Report by Michael Iosifidis and Michael Hantes. In October 2014, the 5th ICRS Surgical Skills Course in Cartilage repair was held in Larissa, Greece. The course was successfully organized in the modern facilities of the attractive 250-acre Health Sciences campus at the University of Thessaly Orthopaedic Department. Forty participants in the hands-on lab, and more than 30 for the lecture only part, registered for this special event of our society. It was a great privilege to host numerous doctors from all over the world. Thirty-seven countries and four continents were represented in this course, proving that the ICRS is a trustworthy scientific society for the continuing education for cartilage repair. We also should stress that it was positively encouraging that there was great interest from our local and foreign colleagues to participate only in the lectures, as the hands-on lab was fully booked several months prior.
As is customary, the ICRS family once again delivered a successful surgical skills course, completely fulfilling the course title and subsequent aim: “Cartilage Repair- Understand it, See it, Do it…” Internationally renowned surgeons and experts in the field of cartilage repair provided the participants with the newest information, tips and tricks of many options in the surgical treatment of chondral lesions. From the more basic procedures of bone marrow stimulation through microfracture, to the more advanced techniques of autologous osteochondral transfer, and matrix induced cell therapies, the participants had the chance to spend significant time practicing in “real” surgery conditions, on human cadaveric specimens. They practiced with many scaffold matrices to understand the material properties, and to feel ready to use them in their clinical practice. In addition, meniscal procedures were also a significant part of the skills course. Many of the meniscus preservation techniques (all-inside, outside-in and inside-out suturing) were performed, as well as meniscal substitution. Finally, MPFL and ACL reconstruction, and high tibial osteotomy completed a global training of the major procedures in the sports medicine field.
In parallel, and at the same high level, the lectures kept the interest of the audience, through the interactive discussion and special questions. The “throwing box” microphone was a highlight in the amphitheater! Basic science topics for cartilage, from the molecular level to cells and tissue were analyzed, and gave the background for the current treatment options. The state-of the art for repairing chondral lesions was at the core of the presentations. There was a special focus on stem cells and tissue engineering as part of the current treatment paradigm, and as future options. The current imaging trends and classification systems were presented, all of which combined to provide a basis for applying bio-surgical solutions. In the end, combined lesions were analyzed, along with a special session for the patellofemoral joint problems.
We had an encouragingly high positive feedback from the participants and the faculty about the meeting. All stated that they had a great experience, and felt much more informed, and learnt new things, about cartilage repair. The outstanding academic programme covered the challenges of the cartilage repair field. It was another successful step for the ICRS, in its continuing efforts to provide knowledge and training.