It is a great pleasure to cordially invite you to the 71th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery and the 8th Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society from June 21–24, 2020 in the name of the board of our society. The last Annual Meeting in Lübeck took place in 2000 under the tutelage of my predecessor Professor Hans Arnold, and we were already well advanced in preparation of an interesting scientific and social meeting as usual.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and through the enactment of our state government, dated April 19, 2020, with a ban of assemblies, entry to the state and hotel admissions, it was obvious that our Annual Meeting could not take place in the usual way. After intense discussions in our board, we dared to try a digital congress together with our congress organisation. A risk because there was no experience at that time with a congress of that size with scientific sessions, board meetings, elections and industrial exhibition. Therefore, the DGNC took over a pioneering role. Up to that time and even later, congresses and meetings of comparable size were either canceled or postponed into the following year.
However, we are convinced that we will master the technical challenges and are able to pre-sent a new exciting congress format to you with live presentations, discussions and even “chat rooms”. Possibly, this kind of format will prevail in the future with other meetings as well.
Essential for the success of our meeting however was the willingness of our Japanese colleagues to join us on our “digital way”. Also the other national and international speakers immediately gave their okay. Therefore, we didn’t have to cut back on our scientific programme. Also our industrial partners agreed to accompany the event in a modified form. Although we as surgeons love to test microscopes, surgical instruments etc. in a haptic way, we will try as hard as we can to make the virtual tour through the industrial exhibition as “lifelike” as possible.
Ultimately, the congress will only succeed if you are willing to participate. We would like to thank you for the willingness to get involved in this type of new congress format.
With purpose we decided to use special topics for our meeting. With regard to neurooncology, we would like to discuss the interdisciplinary treatment modalities for spinal and cerebral metastases. But gliomas also will take a large space, based on your submitted abstracts. Considering the demographic development of our population and the increased admissions of patients 80+ with degenerative or traumatic spine diseases to our wards as well as to our emergency departments, we have to carefully prove our indications for surgery, knowing that conservative treatment with immobilisation is also no treatment option.
Further topics are functional neurosurgery – especially neurosurgical pain therapy – and trauma and intensive care medicine. Eventually, we would like to discuss the modern advancements of digital medicine with their chances and challenges but also the ethical risks and problems which come along with these.
We will celebrate the 8th Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society and the first digital Joint meeting in the history of our society. The Joint Meeting will be reflected especially in our plenary sessions, and we try to take into account the different time zones of the speakers and chairpersons.
We start the Meeting as usual with our Educational day which will be organised by our Neurosurgical Academy.
We are very much delighted, that we are able to honour two personalities with the Fedor-Krause-Medal and the Otfrid-Foerster-Medal, in conjunction with the honourary membership in our society. The laudations and the honorary lectures will be given digitally. The handover of the medals will occur in a more festive surrounding at a later date.
We hope that we will have an intense and interesting scientific exchange at this meeting, but also a lively exchange of experiences and new ideas in a friendly and collegial atmosphere from screen to screen.
We look forward to your participation, and stay healthy!
With kindest regards
Volker M. Tronnier MD, Ph.D
President of the German Neurosurgical Society