Accessibility Tools

Focus Group meetings that took place during the ISSLS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, June 8-12, 2015

Disc Degeneration Focus Group – Creating a common language to advance knowledge


Chair: Michele Battié, Josef Assheuer, Bradley Weiner, Dino Samartzis

Currently, widely varying, disparate definitions of “degenerative disc disease” are used. Moreover, the term is often used interchangeably with disc degeneration and back pain, further clouding the interpretation of available research. Clearer concepts and definitions and more uniform use of terms are needed to facilitate accurate communication in medicine and research, avoid unnecessary confusion, and allow clearer comparisons and syntheses of related study results to move the field forward.

The Focus Group on disc degeneration, including the concept of degenerative disc disease, aims to address this need. The attendance of leaders of regional spine societies (Asia, Europe, North America, India, etc.), spine journal editorial board members and other international leaders in clinical care and research make the ISSLS meeting an ideal forum for such a focus group, although all are welcome.

Last year, at the first meeting of the group, we engaged in a productive discussion of the importance of underlying concepts and case definitions in the context of degenerative disc disease. We then expanded the discussion to similar needs for other degenerative phenomena.

The next focus group session will include a brief review of the outcomes and action items from the last meeting and the results of the subsequent preparatory, background work. We will then resume discussions toward our goal of clarifying concepts of degenerative phenomena, as observed on imaging, toward a common language and core set of measures for consideration for broad adoption.

Read more

Does Our Current Research Paradigm Improve or Impede the Quality of Care for LBP patients?

Chair: Kevin F. Spratt, PhD, Jon Lurie, MD, MS and Ron Donelson, MD, MS

Description: This focus group is intended for surgeons, non-operative clinicians, engineers, researchers and methodologists since successful disruptive innovation in clinical research methods is unlikely without buy in from all of these stakeholders. Our goals are to consider three basic questions:

  1. Are care-seeking LBP patients better off now than they were 30 years ago? We will address the current state of clinical research and practice in the US and around the world.
  2. Have RCTs improved or impeded the quality of care for LBP patients, i.e. what are the pros and cons associated with RCTs as the longstanding “gold” standard for clinical research?
  3. What can we do to improve research paradigms and does meaningful research improvement require a paradigm shift? Are there ways and means of realizing a research structure that will ensure that care and practices 20 years from now will be substantially better than what we have now.

More information

Spine Education Core Clinical Lecture

Chair: Drew Bednar

ISSLS invites interested members to assist in developing a simple Power Point lecture, deliverable in 1 hour, that would clearly describe not just the benignity of common low back pain but the common real-world clinical presentations of – Sciatica, Spinal Stenosis, Cauda equina syndrome.

Development of this curriculum material would also include an evaluation document deliverable to subject learners to help assess its strengths and weaknesses. ISSLS members would offer to deliver this lecture to medical school trainees at their affiliated institutions on a trial/developmental basis. The evaluation material would be used to evolve the lecture to a potential “final format” that would be submitted to ISSLS executive for endorsement and dissemmation. Read more

For more information about Focus Groups please read here