ASSH.org and Hand-e
Keynote Lectures

Keynote lectures are included in registration and CME credits a part of the general session block. 

William Seitz Jr MD  Presidential Address 
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow:  Building Upon the Past and Present to Prepare for the Future

William H. Seitz, Jr., MD
Thursday, September 10 
1:29 – 2:19 PM  

Since its inception in 1946, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand has grown around a consistently common thread of commitment to fill a void and solve a problem previously unmanageable. At the end of World War II, there were no specialists to whom returning servicemen could turn toward to restore function in their severely injured upper limbs.  The need to solve those complex problems was the germ that sprouted the birth of the Hand Society.  Built around volunteerism, intellectual and scientific curiosity, and a team-based approach to solving heretofore-unsolvable problems, a culture of excellence was born which still permeates all that we do.  It is the prime ingredient in the “special sauce” that sets the ASSH apart from all other professional societies. A look back at our evolution, including the challenges our members and society have faced, how we have managed these issues, and the advances that have resulted, provides a glimpse of how we may address the future.  Key advances, breakthroughs, decisions, and processes have become the foundation upon which we have continuously built our future.  Today we are faced with new challenges, some of which are physiologic and others, which are cultural, social, or governmental, and at times may seem insurmountable.  Yet, the culture of our society continues to attract incredibly committed, brilliant, talented, and ingenious new members who constantly infuse our organization with even richer, stronger and more robust “DNA” to ensure the perpetuation of that culture of excellence, through which we will rise to meet and surmount new challenges.   The process of conducting a strategic review and developing a strategic plan for the future of our society has been enlightening and provides great insight into the essence and the future of the Hand Society. Our strategic plan has been built around our five pillars: Education, Research, Practice, Outreach and Institutional Excellence.  We are poised and ready to meet new hurdles, to improve the lives of our patients, and to enhance the careers of our members through the preservation, enhancement, and propagation of our “culture of excellence.”


Andrew Gurman 
Presidential Advocacy Panel 
Moderator: Andrew W. Gurman, MD, Speaker, House of Delegates, AMA
Panel:  Cynthia Brown, VP Government Affairs, AMA; Graham Newson, Director, Government Relations, AAOS; Christian Shalgian, Director, Advocacy and Health Policy, ACS
Thursday, September 10 
2:19 – 3:19 PM 

New for 2015!  This program will feature a “blue ribbon” panel of key individuals from the American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) who are leading the lobbying effort in Washington D.C.  Panelists will be led by Andrew W. Gurman, MD, Speaker of the AMA House of Delegates, on a frank discussion of what is currently being done to ensure quality healthcare in terms of patient care and surgeon satisfaction. Each of the panelists will provide an update on a key issue.  The session will conclude with a Q&A regarding federal, state, and local initiatives that address concerns specific to the hand care community.

  Robert E. Carroll Founders Lecture
Memories, Moments, Mentors – A Recommended Journey

William H. Bowers, MD
Thursday, September 10 
2:59 – 3:29 PM

When I asked my grandfather to define success in his own words, he said, "Success is when you look at your life and the memories make you smile."  Memories that make us smile are not just for reflection. They are the currency of a truly enriched life.  In truth -they are all we own.
Insight: Times like this are “special” --- “memory builders” --- I should remember this!

Moments are to be sought.  Hand surgeons are given unique opportunities to participate in these memory building events.  They are always in the present and may be fleeting.  The moment is ours to find, to mind or to ignore.  We will explore the ways to recognize and convert them.
Insight: If I listen -- I don’t know where it will go but it may be the moment that my patient and I will remember.  I will be the richer.

Mentors and Role Models – These are the craftsmen of a unique professional vehicle that we use in our journey through life.  The craft that gives us special means to have moments and store memories.  From them we gain credibility and perspective.  We owe them much.

Ulrich Lanz MD  International Guest Lecture 
The Seed Has Borne Fruit

Ulrich B. Lanz, MD (Muenchen, Germany)
Saturday, September 12 
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

During the four decades after my fellowship with Robert Carroll in New York, Hand Surgery has changed significantly due to extended knowledge and technical improvements. 

For example, in the early 1970s, intimate knowledge of the wrist joint and the carpus  in Germany was restricted to a few centers. As a result, a major group of our patients presented with late stages of carpal collapse, needing a salvage procedure like a 4-corner fusion, which represented a large segment of our spectrum. With improved awareness of ligament injuries the spectrum of problems shifted towards earlier stages. 
The same applies to correction osteotomies for malunited distal radial fractures. Conservative treatment used to be the standard for this common fracture. The need for correction arose quite often.  With the advance of primary open reduction and internal fixation, correction osteotomies after non-operative treatment through a palmar approach with interposition of a bone graft became less frequent.  The need for correction, however, shifted to cases that were primarily operated on. 
Another example for change seems to be specific for the German health system: around the turn of the millennium we were surprised by the high incidence of revision surgery necessary after carpal tunnel release operations. We believe that some special features of the German Health System were responsible for this fact, including: 

  1. Physicians in Germany are organized in a self-administration body, the Board of Physicians, acting much like a medieval gild. Training, accreditation and certification of medical specialists are regulated by this board. The influence of scientific societies, especially of small ones like the German Society for Surgery of the Hand, is limited. Thus it took years to
    establish an acknowledged trade mark for hand surgeons. 
  2. Since the introduction of the German Health System by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1890 the system is divided in two categories: one is the network of physicians in private practice, taking care of their patients exclusively on an outpatient basis. This category is dominated by family physicians, but also by surgeons, who usually do surgery on outpatients.

As a result many CTRs were done by surgeons without special training in Hand Surgery. CTR is considered to be an easy operation. But training helps to avoid possible traps and pitfalls. The number of CT revisions decreased after a special certification in hand surgery was established in a niche between orthopedics, trauma surgery and plastic surgery in 1992. 
With the advent of microvascular surgery, the need of a new organization of Hand Surgery Units became evident. The care for hand trauma cases didn’t allow any delay necessitating a new organization of Hand Trauma Units. 
Hospital centers run by the Workman Compensation Organization were among the first to establish such hand centers. In university hospitals and big city hospitals, however, it turned out to be difficult to impossible to fit such hand units into the existing organization. I was lucky to have the opportunity to establish a new hospital entirely devoted to Hand Surgery with a minimum of six surgeons trained in hand and microvascular surgery in which we were able to provide a stand-by service around the clock. This hospital, meanwhile, became one of the biggest of such institutions in Germany. 
Looking back on 45 years of practicing hand surgery, I feel privileged to have been the soil in which the seed was planted by Robert Carroll, being able to be part of the progress that Hand Surgery has made since. 

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