For 20 years, anesthesia specialists at Hospital for Special Surgery have practiced and pioneered remarkable discoveries in the subspecialty of regional anesthesia. As a result, in 1996, a prescient question was raised:
Why not invite anesthesiologists from around the country to come to HSS to learn more about our techniques?
Ten years – and ten symposia - later, in May 2006, over 200 anesthesia specialists from around the world convened at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City to learn about the latest fundamentals, advances, and controversies in the field of regional anesthesia.
The 10th Annual HSS Regional Anesthesia Symposium, which featured an international panel of specialists along with the HSS Anesthesiology staff, built upon the success of past symposia programs by focusing on the enthusiastic comments of its previous attendees, custom-fitting the latest program to the specific educational needs of each participant. Included in the curriculum of the day were hands-on small group workshops, didactic sessions debating current, cutting-edge topics in regional anesthesia, and an international forum on anesthetic management and block techniques.
The small group workshops, perhaps the most unique aspect of the HSS symposium, provided hands-on lessons in several different block techniques, including ankle, axillary, coracoid, interscalene, popliteal, and psoas blocks. Recent highlights also included demonstrations and practice sessions in catheter and ultrasound techniques.
Similarly, several discussions dealt with the use of ultrasound and catheters, neurologic complications stemming from the use of regional anesthesia, and other considerations regarding the practical, ethical, and risk management issues involved in the practice of regional anesthesia.
“I've been to this course previously; I change my practice yearly, based on [the] information I gain,” remarked a recent participant. “The course content is very relevant.”
Richard L. Kahn, MD, Program Co-Chair, is encouraged by the interest he sees in the participants each year. "It is extremely gratifying to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the attendees as they gain the confidence to apply these techniques in their practice."
In a time when information has become easier than ever to share globally, the HSS Regional Anesthesia Symposium has developed into an international event positioned at the forefront of the field of regional anesthesia. Future symposia will host specialists from Europe and beyond, and are sure to include even more customized developments as the years - as well as state-of-the-art technologies and techniques - progress.