The Fourth Annual Musculoskeletal Education and Research Center (MERC) Symposium was held on August 25–26, 2017, in Audubon, PA. The vision and mission of MERC are one of integration, development, and expansion to create multidisciplinary research with core areas of excellence across a broad spectrum of scientific fields including biomechanics, computational modeling, in vivo animal modeling, particle analysis, radiology, histology, and clinical research. The meeting gathered eminent spine surgeons, clinicians, researchers, scientists, and engineers who presented the latest updates in their fields of expertise. The symposium's objective was to create a platform for discussion on a variety of clinically relevant topics such as challenges in musculoskeletal pathology with reference to spinal disorders, innovative research strategies, new implant technologies that are on the horizon, and most importantly, the scientific exchange of ideas and perspectives.
The symposium began with two talks on anterior and posterior arthroplasty and the attendees’ collective knowledge about biomechanics, followed by a clinical discussion on the current understanding of cervical arthroplasty. The distinguished Keynote Speaker was Dr. Lawrence Lenke, who presented “Clinical Spinal Deformity Research: From Inception to Global Standardization,” providing his perspective on the changing standardization in deformity research.
The meeting featured a number of panel discussions offering unique perspectives on important research and clinical topics of relevance. These sessions included a focus on infection and surface coatings on orthopedic implants; a series of short case studies on spinal deformity led by Dr. Lenke was also presented.
The symposium also spotlighted up-and-coming advancements in spinal cord stimulator technology and robotics in spine surgery, followed by individual talks and a panel discussion on cervical deformity correction and cervical myelopathy led by Dr. K. Daniel Riew. In addition, a debate session was presented. The topic for this year's debate was, “Is Spinal Cord Stimulation a Viable Therapy for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?”.
On behalf of MERC and the distinguished faculty, we are pleased to present the encompassed abridgment of the Fourth Annual MERC Symposium to advance knowledge and improve the care and treatment of patients.