by Allen Chen, MD, MPH
Continuing its global educational efforts, NASS successfully produced the inaugural Ultrasound and Fluoroscopic Guided Lumbar Procedures Workshop at the Singapore General Hospital on October 29-30 2016. This was the first freestanding NASS workshop, which was held as an independent course prior to the World Congress on Low Back and Pelvic Girdle Pain. The course exceeded all expectations, with over 70 participants representing more than 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Poland, and Indonesia.
The Symposium was chaired by Board member Jeffrey C. Wang, MD, and Ho Kok Yuen, MBBS, MMed. The NASS faculty delegation included NASS Past President Heidi Prather, DO, Board Member David O’Brien, MD, David Fish, MD, Sanjog Pangarkar, MD, Allen Chen, MD, MPH, Bengt Sturesson, MD (Sweden), and Chang Ming Guo, MD (Singapore). The course was organized by Brad Repsold, NASS Associate Executive Director, who ensured that all lectures and labs ran smoothly.
The facilities at the Academia building at Singapore General Hospital proved to be ideal for morning lectures and afternoon labs. The didactics of the course included topics such as differentiation of lumbar spine disorders, the use of spinal injections for surgical planning, tools of the interventionalist, and ultrasound vs. fluoroscopic techniques.
The two-day workshop also featured a cadaveric workshop which covered interventional pain procedures, including interlaminar and transforaminal epidural injections, sacroiliac joint injections, facet and medial branch injections, radiofrequency ablation in the lumbar spine, hip, and knee, spinal cord stimulators, and intrathecal pumps. In addition, the course provided a unique opportunity to learn both fluoroscopic and ultrasound guided procedures concurrently. All participants had the opportunity to improve skills and knowledge, led by experts in the field of interventional pain and minimally invasive spine interventions.
Amidst a hectic schedule of lectures and cadaver labs, NASS faculty still found time to appreciate the unique culture, architecture, and cuisine of Singapore. From breathtaking views atop the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to excellent food at Hawker Fairs, faculty members took full advantage of the sights, sounds, and tastes of the nation state. Both faculty and participants made many contacts and friendships, both professional and personal.
NASS would like to thank the participants, faculty, and the sponsors of the workshop for their unwavering support for continuing education for physicians throughout the world. The respect and collegiality of the participants was truly remarkable, and NASS faculty were truly excited and humbled to be able to participate in what hopes to be the start of a long and successful history of NASS workshops. NASS leadership and faculty were excited to host its first independent cadaver course in Asia, and are dedicated to have continued presence and involvement in the area for years to come.