October 24 to 28, 2016 saw the 13th Congress of the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand and the 10th Congress of International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy meetings being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nearly 2000 surgeons from over 50 countries attended. The organizing committee chaired by Eduardo Zancolli II created an extraordinarily diverse and comprehensive program.
Even at a casual glance at the subjects covered and the renowned speakers who populated the 48 symposia, courses, round tables, and debates, one realizes that the decided potential of such an international congress centers on the ability to attract these experts who are eminently qualified to cover the breadth of hand and upper limb surgery.
The subjects extended from brachial plexus, nerve transfers, traumatic and reconstructive problems of the wrist, tendons, soft tissue, small joints, congenital, just to list a few. Freed from the burdens of the ever-increasing requirements for publication in our English language journals, which prove especially burdensome to many international surgeons, the 13th Congress presented a format for the participant to gain insight into years of surgical experience, novel concepts, surgical tips and tricks, and a chance for exchange of ideas as audience interaction was a feature of nearly all of the clinical courses.
Because of the changing dynamics of the health care landscape in the United States, we find our meetings and journal articles also presenting cost analysis, value propositions of what we do, outcome measures, and now how we as surgeons will be evaluated by our peers and government providers. It was actually a breath of fresh air to be able to listen and learn for 4 days on all of the clinical issues that stimulated all of us to pursue our careers in hand and upper limb.
Lastly, a meeting such as this is fun and provides enormous opportunities to make new friendships as well as reacquaint ourselves with international colleagues. One of the social highlights of the meeting was the banquet that ended with 2 hours of disco dancing and brought back memories from when the American Society for Surgery of the Hand also had a banquet with dancing at the last day of the meeting. It would be wonderful to return to these social interactions at our own meetings.