Friday, April 20, 2012

Away at Scoliosis Conference, and Hey Clinic Quality Retreat.

I am here at a spinal deformity course here at Washington University, in St. Louis, MO, which is sponsored by Dr. Larry Lenke and Keith Bridwell and others from Scoliosis Research Society.  This has been a very unique course, where there are two simultaneous surgeries going on, with the surgeries being broadcast to our conference room in real time.  We have the ability to hear the operative surgeon, and ask questions.  Scoliosis surgeons from all over the world are here, and there has been lots of great dialogue, sharing cases with each other and helping each other.

In photos above, you can see the view I have watching Dr. Bridwell do a growing rod technique on the left side, while Dr. Lenke is doing a thoracolumbar scoliosis correction in a 48 yo woman.  Yesterday we participated in 2 other surgeries including a cervical-thoracic kyphosis correction with Dr. Riew, and a Scheuermann's Kyphosis correction with Dr. Lenke.  Lots of great discussion on a wide variety of approaches and techniques with over 100 surgeons and others sharing together.  Dr. Shaffrey from UVA gave good talk this morning on revision techniques in adults, and Dr. Steve Glassman gave a great talk yesterday about the possible impact of healthcare reform on spinal deformity treatment.  Fortunately, since scoliosis and kyphosis surgery has such a large effect on improving quality of life that usually provides many years of durability/use, these treatments can provide great long-term value. 

I got to share some of our recent experience using new techniques for preventing proximal junctional kyphosis using less invasive techniques for the proximal fixation of the deformity correction.

I've brought a couple people from our scoliosis team here to learn as well  -- my surgical physician assistant Leslie, and our Duke Raleigh Hospital Circulating Nurse Kelly who are really enjoying the learning and sharing as well.

Conferences like this is also a chance to connect with old resident and fellow friends from Duke and from my own training years at Harvard and Boston Children's Hospital.  Bumped into Dr. John Fox, who I knew when he was at Duke as a resident, and now serves as a pediatric orthoapedic surgeon in Norfolk, VA.  It was good to hear his update on his family and his practice!

The scoliosis community is a very supportive group, where we are all constantly trying to improve care for children, adolescents, and adults with spinal deformity.   

On the social side, I had a great taxi driver named Bill, who picked me up from airport and had some great dinner restaurant recommendations!! He also has been quite entertaining with his stories of great entertainers he has had the chance to transport including Bill Cosby and others!!

I fly home tonight, and will be back in the operating room on Monday.  Have had busy last few weeks, including doing huge kyphoscoliosis in 14 yo boy with fairly severe obesity. Got great correction, and he has done well.  Saw a bunch of postop patients back for followup, including several using our newer U-Rod and sublaminar fiber-wire technique with the more flexible rods with very high patient satisfaction.

Also this week we had a Hey Clinic staff retreat, focusing on the "Be Our Guest" book from the Disney Institute which we all read in preparation for our retreat.  Each Hey Clinic associate prepared a "SWOT" analysis -- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats -- and shared, based on their contribution to overall clinic flow what recommendations they had to improve our ability to serve.  Everyone did a great job, and several new changes are already underway.  Learning to LISTEN to my team, and allowing each associate to contribute to improve the team is something I have definitely gotten better at, the last almost 8 years at Hey Clinic, and 10 years before that at Duke Medical Center.

Will try to be better about sharing more consistently on the BLOG, at least twice a week.  Will shoot for Wednesday and Sundays, but we'll see!

Dr. Lloyd Hey
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery

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