#OrthoEvents: NSpine 2022 preview with Bronek Brozczyk

Since launching in 2013, the NSpine conference has grown to become a staple fixture on the spinal calendar and remains at the forefront of innovation within spinal education.

Evolving into much more than just a conference, NSpine provides a unique platform for the presentation of novel and in-depth knowledge and analysis, the demonstration of advanced techniques and state-of-the-art technology.

Bringing together international and recognised experts covering all areas of spinal surgery with leading healthcare professionals and faculty opinion leaders, NSpine returns for the 6th major multi-disciplinary spine conference in Porto, Portugal, from May 31 to June 3. 

We spoke to founder and Head of Spine Surgery at the Orthopädische Kinderklinik in Aschau, Bronek Boszczyk, to preview this year’s conference.

“Nspine was created for working surgeons, it is about the day to day working and handling if difficult problems,” said Bronek Boszczyk. “Eighty per cent of our talks are from invited experts in their field so delegates know exactly what they will get, and it’s really tailored to the needs of the working surgeon to engage with the faculty, learn from them and why their practices have changed over the years. 

“This is synergistic to the academic meetings, which are abstract-based and about outcome – this really is a ‘how to do it’ meeting, designed by surgeons with that in mind.”

After a virtual meeting in 2021, this year’s event is in Porto. What made you choose the city as your hosting partner?

“We decided to come to Porto because we wanted to engage a wider European audience. It’s a fantastic UNESCO heritage city with some of the best conference hotels in Europe, easy access to the city and the airport, and a very vibrant faculty. Porto is a city that embraces a learning culture, and we like having a conference setting that allows people to go into the city and engage in the local culture.”

Can you tell us more about the relationship between the Porto conference and the workshops at IRCAD in Strasbourg?

“NSpine has always included hands-on cadaveric workshops for our delegates at different levels of their training, particularly for experienced delegates where we create a ratio of one faculty to two delegates, and in some cases one-to-one to provide that superior surgical training.

“We pick complex surgical procedures, attract very experienced faculty and then allow delegates to train with the faculty on those procedures. We now run the vascular access complications course in Strasbourg at IRCAD with dedicated speciality faculty. 

“IRCAD is one of the few places in Europe where this training can be done, combining cadaveric training with image guidance and x-ray and also to have live tissue procedures, so it’s an ideal area to combine these different modalities. 

“The hands on training runs in the days prior to the main conference with a very simple flight transfer between Strasbourg and Porto so delegates can attend both, and there’s a huge demand for places with people coming from across the globe to take part.”

What does you look for in your exhibition partners from industry?

“Nspine is a completely independent platform and views its industrial partners as exactly that – partners providing education, not just exhibition. 

“We realise and appreciate the tremendous knowledge and educational ability many of our industrial partners bring to the table and we utilise that in the programme, and build their know-how into the programme to round off the experience.

“NSpine is a platform where clinicians can engage with producers and researchers to look at producing new products that benefit our patients.”

How important is the return to face-to-face meetings following the pandemic?

“NSpine has been a hybrid event for many years, and will be again in 2022. But you cannot get the networking element from a virtual conference, or the ability to meet and develop relationships with KOLs. This is an under-appreciated but invaluable resource. 

“In Porto we will have a delegate case forum where delegates can bring cases and get direct feedback from our faculty, which is very difficult to do in a hybrid event. “For the first time we are also offering the opportunity to producers with specific requirements to put together a KOL panel in a private meeting for them to get feedback from our faculty.

“If we talk about surgical techniques and tools and engaging with industry, they must be handled to see how they fit and how they feel, and there is no substitute for face-to-face when it comes to this.”

What elements of the 2022 programme are you most excited by?

“Every part of the programme features many of the best faculty from around the world, but there are some unique features in the Porto programme. I’m confident we have the most comprehensive spine trauma programme that has been seen at a conference. 

“We’ve partnered with the South African Spine Society who are hugely experienced in all areas of spine trauma, and we have a dedicated full day session on every aspect of spinal trauma including case discussions. 

“We have an incredibly strong paediatric deformity faculty, which is very extensive and detailed with true KOLs from the USA, Canada, Germany and Portugal attending who are providing a stunningly detailed programme of keynote lectures on all areas of paediatric deformity. 

“The Portuguese Spine Society who will be fielding a day of dedicated case discussions, covering every area, run under their auspices, and they have been fantastic partners in developing this.

“NSpine is by surgeons for surgeons answering the question, ‘how do you solve your clinical problem scenario?’ It is not an academic meeting for sharing the latest research – it’s a clinical decision-making meeting where you learn how to solve complex problems.”

For more information on NSpine or to register, visit the official event website here.