|Advanced AO in the snow|
|Thursday, 01 April 2010|
David Elson reports from Davos, Switzerland, where the AO Advances in Operative Fracture Management Course was held from 13-18 December 2009
Over the past half century the AO (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen) Foundation has made significant progress in improving the management of trauma patients. Education is at the core of the AO philosophy, and Davos is the Swiss alpine town at its heart.
Every year in mid-December international delegates and faculty gather in Davos to share knowledge and skills of fracture fixation techniques. Several courses run simultaneously in the town’s Congress Centre. The ‘Advances’ Course builds upon the foundations learned from the ‘Principles’ Course. There are also additional sub-specialist trauma courses run simultaneously.
This year, work for the delegates began before the course with an online knowledge quiz. Once in Davos, the course programme was intensely packed. Material was presented in both short lectures and smaller discussion groups. Important principles were revised, such as considering the fracture personality, respecting the soft tissues, pre-operative planning and fixation to provide either relative or absolute stability.
One of the highlights was a talk devoted solely to methods of achieving fracture reduction. The schedule then progressively dealt with specific fracture problems according to anatomical regions, working through upper and lower limbs, from proximal to distal. Specific modules were also devoted to biological or mechanical enhancements, and life-threatening fracture problems such as poly trauma and pelvic fractures.
Many of the faculty members were well recognised experts in their field and were able to illustrate their experience with reference to the current evidence base. Additional practical experience was provided in realistic saw bone workshops with high faculty to delegate ratios. Operative fracture management was simulated for specific fracture patterns, and the in vitro visualisation of successful compared to less successful fixation was invaluable.
The setting of Davos and its surrounding mountains were a delight to all delegates, especially winter sports enthusiasts. The course organisers provided generous three to four hour breaks at midday for ‘lunch’ providing plenty of good quality skiing. As an alternative on overcast days, the town hosts
Further details on this and other AO courses can be found at www.aofoundation.org/wps/portal/courses
David Elson, Orthopaedic Registrar Northern Deanery