It was a great privilege to be invited back to Warsaw by Konrad Slynarski, who is a good friend of mine.
Konrad has really been at the forefront of joint preservation in Europe and he has significantly influenced my own practice over the years with the innovations he has brought to my attention.
This year the focus of the meeting was pretty much on osteotomy and what was interesting was that making it a more specialist meeting had been a concern for Konrad and Jacek Walawski - the other convenor. They were worried that the numbers would drop, but in fact they had significantly more interest this year than they ever have, and this is testament to the fact that osteotomy is growing and growing in terms of its interest to surgeons, because it's recognised now as the keystone to treating patients in terms of any joint preserving procedure and for alleviating the pain of arthritis.
We had some great overview lectures from Ronald van Heerwarden and Kristian Kley, both part of the superb faculty. We also had live demonstrations from the Arthrex mobile lab on how to perform high tibial osteotomy and distal femoral osteotomy surgery.
I was asked to talk about my experience with minimally invasive procedures and was able to show my results - which have proven to be excellent with this minimally invasive technique. We then went on to do a full day of cadaveric surgery on the Saturday, taking twelve delegates through step-by-step how to perform high tibial and distal femoral osteotomy surgery as well as all-inside ACL procedures.
It was a great experience and I was very grateful to Konrad for including me and we hope with these courses now approved by ESSKA that we can continue to spread the good news about osteotomy to the surgical community and make this a more and more popular procedure, and an alternative to joint replacement.
In terms of my takehome message at the end when I was asked to comment 'What was the single most important learning point for me?' I have to say that it was 'joint distraction'. There was a very interesting lecture from Professor Floris Lafeber from Utrecht on the use of joint distraction for tricompartmental and isolated medial and lateral compartment arthritis. Ronald first brought this to my attention at our meeting in Basingstoke a few years back and he presented the two year data. Now we have seen 5-year data and it is really very convincing, and this is something that I am now going to be taking into my practice on a regular basis.