May 1, 1998
For the first time in American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons history, attendees at one of the country's largest medical conferences viewed a live broadcast of two complex surgical procedures. Tulane University Hospital and Clinic was the host site for the surgeries performed by Robert Barrack, professor of orthopaedics and director of adult reconstructive surgery at Tulane, and Wayne G. Paprosky from Chicago.
Approximately 30,000 orthopaedic surgeons and healthcare professionals attended the March conference in New Orleans. On March 20, in one of the most well-attended sessions, about 2,500 physicians viewed the simulcast hip revision and knee replacement surgeries. The physicians were able to ask questions through a moderator and to interact with the surgeons while the procedures were performed.
Richard Coutts, program chairman responsible for coordinating the event, says the academy approved the project as a means of providing an enhanced educational format. Both procedures are highly specialized and represent the latest advances in orthopaedic surgery.
The group selected Barrack and Paprosky because they are widely respected for their contributions in the field of orthopaedic surgery. According to Barrack, the large contingent of conference attendees from outside the United States had a tremendous amount of interest in U.S. surgery techniques. The live broadcast was a way to showcase these techniques and at the same time spotlight Tulane University Medical Center.
"It was a great experience all around," Barrack says. "It was especially good for the hospital because as they cut back and forth between the surgeries there would be a shot of the hospital. It was a lot of good PR for Tulane's hospital and the orthopaedic program. Our team performed so well during the surgeries that Dr. Paprosky offered them jobs."
Conference attendees apparently agreed with Barrack's assessment. The evaluation forms from the session showed that 99 percent of the respondents gave the program a very positive rating. As for the patients, they both went home four days later.
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