AOSSM-AANA Combined 2021 Annual Meeting Review

By: Kevin F. Bonner, M.D., FAANA
     Program Co-Chair

After months of eager anticipation, the historic AOSSM-AANA Combined 2021 Annual Meeting recently wrapped up. Kudos goes to organizational leaders Drs. Michael Ciccotti and Brian Cole – without their assistance, this meeting would not have come to fruition.

The meeting was full of great content, including 24 instructional courses, nearly 80 paper presentations and 240 posters, in addition to the numerous invited lectures, exciting panels and more. Industry was also present and in full force, revealing their latest technology and devices – it has admittedly been a while since most of us have had the opportunity to see these advances in person.

Pre-Meeting: Wednesday, July 7
The Biologics Association (BA) 2nd Annual Summit took place prior to the meeting. The BA, through the leadership of Drs. Jason Dragoo, Bert Mandelbaum and numerous others, seeks to foster and collaborate for shared and coordinated efforts to speak with a unified voice in the musculoskeletal biologics environment, advocating for the responsible use of biologics in clinical practice.

Drs. Jorge Chahla, Rachel Frank and Seth Sherman put together a comprehensive program highlighting the current science and controversies surrounding orthobiologics. The day was full of current updates on various biologic agents and their indication(s) for treatment of pathologies of tendon, cartilage, ligament and bone, including subchondral bone lesions. Additionally, there were numerous sessions that addressed potential complications associated with the use of biologics and ways in which to avoid them. Finally, Dr. Scott Bruder reviewed the recent FDA guidance to ensure everyone was clear that stem cells; stromal vascular fraction (fat-derived cells); umbilical cord blood and/or cord blood stem cells; amniotic fluid; Wharton’s jelly; and exosomes are not approved for use. The only exception is if one is part of an FDA clinical trial.

Day 1: Thursday, July 8
Day 1 started with a menagerie of instructional courses from which to choose. The first General Session focused on anterior instability, and several scientific papers and lectures focused on arthroscopic stabilization as well as the assessment and restoration of bone loss when required. Dr. Matt Provencher performed a great surgical technique spotlight, demonstrating his pearls for performing an open latarjet. Dr. Peter Indelicato moderated an interesting Game Changer Session, and a panel discussion with Chief Medical Officers of the Major Professional Leagues proved to be highly engaging.

In the afternoon, attendees had the option to attend a Sports Health Symposium which focused on return to play after knee injuries. Concurrent sessions held earlier in the day were packed and included the following: The Athletes Elbow; Meniscus; and The Outpatient Revolution in Orthopaedics. Sessions that were held later in the afternoon focused on complications in shoulder surgery; rotator cuff; cartilage; degenerative shoulder, foot and ankle; and all things knee/osteotomy, which was presented in collaboration with The International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS). Additionally, three semi-finalists presented during the ON Regenerative Medicine Grant Tank session to compete for a $25,000 ON Foundation Research Grant. The winner, who was announced on Saturday, was Dr. Nicholas DePhillipo for his research study proposal, “Mechano-Activated Drug Delivery of Growth Factors as a Novel Platform for Enhancing Cartilage Regeneration.”

Quite frankly, it was difficult for many to choose which session to attend. As stated by one faculty, “Some of the concurrent sessions were like trying to get into a Rolling Stones concert.”

The well-attended Joint Welcome Reception took place early in the evening and was a great way to catch up with friends, family and colleagues at the end of the day.

Day 2: Friday, July 9
Day 2 started early with the AOSSM-AANA Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast for people of a variety of different faith backgrounds. After the instructional courses, Dr. Stephen Burkhart delivered the special lecture, “On Innovation: The Triumph of Improbability,” followed by the one-hour Game-Changer Session, “The Intangible Price for Fame: The Athlete’s Mental Health.”

One of the many highlights from Day 2 was the AANA Awards and the AANA Presidential Address. The annual Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Dr. John Richmond, and the newly established Distinguished Service Award was presented to Drs. Richard K.N. Ryu and Robert Hunter. This new award is given to an AANA member(s) for exceptional service leading an initiative or project for the association, orthopaedic community or the community at-large. You can view the full list of award winners here.

AANA President Dr. Mark Getelman introduced AANA Immediate Past President Dr. Brian Cole for his presidential address and congratulated him on all his leadership accomplishments in 2020. During his address, Dr. Cole took an introspective look at his career and imparted words of wisdom that I’m confident most found extremely moving. At the conclusion of Dr. Cole’s address, Dr. Getelman was formally introduced as the current president of AANA. His introduction then segued into AANA’s 40th Anniversary video, which briefly outlined AANA’s rich history as an organization provided viewers a sneak peek into what’s to come at the 2022 AANA Annual Meeting next May. Congratulations to Drs. Getelman, Cole and all of AANA’s past presidents and leaders for 40 years of success!

Afternoon education included some great concurrent sessions on ACL grafts and revision, the throwers shoulder, hip FAI and concussion/the team physician. For surgeons early in their careers, there was the AANA Residents and Fellows Program, which featured highly informative session topics presented by AANA leaders.

The day concluded with several entertaining social events, including the AOSSM-AANA Hosted Exhibit Hall Social Hour and the AANA Residents/Fellows/Traveling Fellows Reception. Of course, the Nashville setting made it easy for many to enjoy the great restaurants and music the city offers afterwards.

Day 3: Saturday, July 10
After another morning of insightful instructional courses, Drs. Elizabeth Arendt and Seth Sherman moderated Saturday’s first General Session: Patellofemoral Pain and Instability. During the session, Drs. Adam Yanke and Dave Diduch performed exceptional surgical demonstrations on MPFL reconstruction and trochleoplasty. The General Session: ACL Beyond the Ligament that followed focused on ACL reconstruction and factors other than the ligament that can affect failure rates. Topics included tibial slope and the current role of LET/ALL, with a couple papers showing decreased failure rates when a LET or ALL were added to ACL reconstructions. Dr. Volker Musahl performed a nice demonstration of slope osteotomy during the Surgical Technique Spotlight, and Dr. Alan Getgood brought everyone up-to-speed on the current indications and considerations to add a LET/ALL to your ACL reconstruction. The session ended with a feature lecture on diversity and inclusion by Dr. Richard K.N. Ryu, in which he showcased his profound intellect and speaking ability – the reason why nobody wishes to follow him on a stage.

The afternoon transitioned into the third General Session: Massive Rotator Cuff, a big draw for many of the attendees. Following Dr. Anthony Romeo’s Surgical Technique Spotlight on arthroscopic subscapularis repair, the session primarily focused on spacer balloons and SCR. An interesting paper out of Pittsburgh questioned whether SCR changes kinematics like we thought. Their findings suggested that despite positive PRO’s, improvement in outcomes may not be related to improvement in kinematics. Dr. Nikhil Verma closed out the session with demonstrating several insightful tips and tricks for performing an SCR. Deciding on which concurrent session to attend that afternoon proved difficult for many. Session topics ranged from posterior shoulder instability and management of knee complications to controversial topics related to the labrum for our colleagues who perform hip arthroscopy.

Saturday concluded with the highly anticipated AOSSM-AANA Family Night at Wildhorse Saloon The fun-filled evening allowed everyone to mingle, catch up and even try their hand at line dancing!

Day 4: Sunday, July 11
While most might associate the fourth and final morning with the sound of crickets, the General Session: Role of Biologics in Sports Medicine was packed with attendees. Moderated by Drs. Michael Ciccotti and Benjamin Ma, the session highlighted not only the current science on biologics but also the practical and business aspects of utilizing biologics in your practice.

Prior to adjourning there were two final Concurrent Sessions. Drs. Kevin Plancher and Sabrina Strickland moderated the great controversial session, Osteoarthritis and the Aging Athlete, while Drs. Nicole Friel and Kevin Shea tackled topics related to younger athletes in the session, Pediatric Issues in Sports Medicine. The comprehensive session focused on topics including ACL, MPFL, OCD and more – there was even a talk on the impact of COVID-19 on elective sports surgery!


For those of you that missed the conference or want to check out anything you might have missed, materials are available online. The 2021 Annual Meeting Access Pass will provide you with hours of recorded content and over 200 faculty presentations, allowing you to get up-to-speed on the latest advances in arthroscopy. Preorder the 2021 Annual Meeting Access Pass now.

Kudos to Drs. Steven Cohen (AOSSM), Brett Owens (AOSSM) and Nikhil Verma (AANA) for the collaboration which created a dynamic synergy between the organizations that resulted in such a fantastic meeting. Mark your calendars and get ready for AANA’s 40th Anniversary celebration – AANA22 will be in San Francisco, California May 19-21, 2022!

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