Soft-Tissue Management initiative update
In September 2018, the AO initiative on soft-tissue management successfully launched its AO Fundamentals of Soft-Tissue Management course in Hamburg, Germany. This was the first instance of a truly cross-divisional venture, comprising 13 faculty from all four AO Clinical Divisions and open to participants from all specialties.
The aim of this initiative is to leverage expert knowledge from across the AO community of surgeons in order to teach the principles and current treatment standards for soft-tissue injuries, deformities, and scars.
Using the AO Education Institute's backward planning process, a curriculum taskforce led by Damir Matic (AOCMF) - including David Volgas (AOTrauma), Yves Harder (AOTrauma), Salvatore Lettieri (AOCMF), Olivier Gauthier (AOVET), and Joseph Cheng (AOSpine) - developed a competency-based curriculum framework for soft-tissue management.
This is a field in which AO VET has much to offer the Foundation, recognizing that veterinary orthopedic surgeons routinely complete all soft-tissue approaches and closures, and knowing that veterinary patient wound care compliance is always at risk.
From this curriculum, a two-day course for practicing surgeons was created. In addition to lectures and small-group discussions, a specimen lab ensured that participants could practice good soft-tissue management skills and innovative suturing and closure techniques in a safe and supportive environment.
An innovative highlight of the course was the use of video clips to identify incorrect soft-tissue handling and management techniques. This highly interactive session pitted participant groups against each other in order to identify the highest number of soft-tissue handling errors and thus win the coveted prize: a copy of AO Trauma’s Manual of Soft-Tissue Management in Orthopaedic Trauma.
The need for this type of a course was demonstrated by the fact that the course was sold out shortly after it was open for registration. To accommodate the high demand, the number of seats for the course was increased from 30 to 36.
This positive response is further evidence for the lack of soft-tissue focused courses on landscape of current educational offerings and thus a golden opportunity for the AO to fill this unmet need. The success of this pilot course has boosted collaboration with our industrial partners and led to a ramp-up of activities for 2019 and beyond.