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Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Visit technical exhibits for latest in orthopaedic products, technology

Orthopaedic surgeons want to know about the latest products, services and technological innovations. Companies want orthopaedic surgeons to see and experience their new products and services. They come together in the Technical Exhibit area at the AAOS Annual Meeting.

"We try to feature new technologies and products that are especially relevant to orthopaedic surgeons," said Frank A. Pettrone, MD, who chaired the Exhibits Committee for the 2002 Annual Meeting. Other members of the committee include: Edward Abraham, MD; A. Seth Greenwald, D. Phil. (Oxon); Mary Haus, MD; Michael B. Mayor, MD; Joseph S. Mensch, MD; Joseph T. Moskal, MD; Charles S. Rutherford, MD, and George Thabit III, MD.

The Exhibits Committee is responsible for both technical and scientific exhibit selections. This year, 417 technical exhibits will fill Halls A through E of the Dallas Convention Center; 70 scientific exhibits will be on display in Hall C. Companies specializing in implants, prostheses, bone and tissue products, pharmaceuticals, computer software, practice management services, publishing, as well as numerous other products relative to the specialty of orthopaedics will be featured. The exhibit halls are open Wednesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Behind the scenes

The Technical Exhibits committee works throughout the year to ensure that the materials on display are both relevant and applicable to orthopaedic practices. The behind-the-scenes work continues even during the Annual Meeting.

As a final check, the committee meets with a representative from the United States Food and Drug Administration right before the exhibit halls open. They walk up and down the aisles, checking that each product cleared for use in the U.S. is appropriately labeled. "We have a large contingent of international members and international companies exhibiting," noted Dr. Pettrone. "Some items may be approved for use in other countries, but not in the U.S. and, in those cases, signage is especially important."

During this final walk-through, the committee members make a final review of all the scientific exhibits and select the top three to honor with ribbons. The top 20 scientific exhibit papers will be published in a supplement to the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. "This was done for the first time last year," said Dr. Pettrone. "We hope that publishing the best of the papers will encourage more members to submit their work."

Special activities planned

New exhibitors, who are participating in an Academy meeting for the first time, will be located in Aisles 2000-2100 in Hall C. Practice management and practice productivity products and services are also grouped together in Aisles 5200-5400 in Hall E. Taking a cue from commercial booksellers, Publishers Row will be located in Aisles 5700-5800 near one of the exhibit hall cafes, so members can enjoy a cup of coffee as they browse the books.

The latest innovation is the addition of a Technology Theater. This open-air forum will feature half-hour sessions on using technologies such as the Internet, handheld computers (personal digital assistants, or PDAs), PowerPoint for presentations and digital imaging. Sessions will be repeated every day at different times, so members can plan a visit around their other educational activities. It is located in the Technology Pavilion in Booth 5251 in Hall E.

To encourage members to visit the exhibit area, more food service areas were added; restaurants will be located in Hall C in Aisles 2200 and 3400 and in Hall E in Aisle 5900. In addition, daily raffle drawings will be held. Among the prizes to be raffled are airfare to the 2003 AAOS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, digital cameras, and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Members can enter the raffle at the Redemption Centers located in Aisles 900, 1900, 5200 and 5700.

"If an orthopaedic surgeon can only attend one meeting during the year, it should be the AAOS Annual Meeting," said Dr. Pettrone. "It's the best. I liken it to a three-ring circus: one ring has all the educational opportunities so you can learn the latest in research and techniques; one ring is filled with the technical exhibits so you can see the advances in technology and practice management, and the third ring gives you the social milieu to meet your peers from around the world."

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Last modified 05/February/2002