Thank you to the president and program committee volunteers for planning
this year’s annual meeting.

Program Committee

Eeric Truumees, MD
NASS President
E. Kano Mayer, MD
Michael P. Steinmetz, MD
Andrew Schoenfeld, MD

Instructional and Hands-on Courses

Four CME courses will occur just prior to the start of the meeting and on Friday. These courses are a great way to gain additional education and hands-on time while at the meeting. These educational offerings have an additional fee.

Coding Update 2021: Mastering the Coding Maze
Monday and Tuesday, September 27-28 (8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.)
Available In-Person and Virtual in Real Time

2021 has brought multiple coding changes to your practice with updated telemedicine and E&M guidelines. This course will ensure that you understand proper telemedicine coding and its new evolving role in your practice as well as review the NEW E&M coding and documentation guidelines for 2021 so that you have a clear understanding of this new process and how these changes will impact your practice. Faculty will present up to date information on what is happening with healthcare legislation for pre-authorization, Medicare cuts and other news that will affect coding and reimbursement.

Additionally, faculty will address nuances of the Medicare policy coverage guideline for injection procedures, coding for radiographic imaging studies and tumor ablation/biopsies, as well as the correct utilization of both 22000 and 63000 codes, operative report coding and documentation, correct use of modifiers, billing for physician extenders and much more.

Audience: This course is open to all.

Credits: The North American Spine Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The North American Spine Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 14.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.

Learn More & Register

Section on Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: Hands-on Course
Tuesday, September 28 (7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

Faculty will provide a targeted focus on current minimally invasive spine techniques, including laser endoscopy (LESS), augmented reality, navigation enabled Exoscope and MIS surgeries from incision to closure. In addition, there will be opportunity for those who would like to advance their MIS techniques, including, correction of deformity with MIS systems. Materials providing a basic approach to MIS surgery, pros and cons, patient selection and information about the procedures demonstrated in the cadaver lab will be sent to attendees prior to the course for review.

Audience: Physicians only.

Credits: The North American Spine Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The North American Spine Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.

Learn More & Register

Evidence-Based Medicine Training Program - Live Capstone Session
Tuesday, September 28 (8:00–10:00 a.m.)

The NASS EBM Training Program, open to NASS members and nonmembers, is an interactive course on the fundamentals of evidence-based medicine and the critical analysis of study methodologies. In order to attend this live capstone session, registrants of the Fall 2021 EBM Training Program must first successfully complete the pre-requisite coursework online by the appropriate deadline. During this live interactive session, faculty will discuss course concepts, review homework assignments and answer audience questions.

Note: Registration opens in June. Go to for details.

Learn More & Register

Section on Spinal Deformity: Hands-on Course
Tuesday, September 28 (1:30-6:00 p.m.)

Top experts in the field will address the latest research, surgical techniques and products to treat adult spinal deformity, and reduce complications and improve outcomes. Participants will learn techniques on open and minimally invasive surgical correction for thoracolumbar and cervical deformities in the adult patient, including robotic surgery and industry product updates. Hands-on cadaver surgical lab sessions will translate the research findings into practical surgical techniques and knowledge. The course structure will be a flipped classroom style to optimize learning and hands-on time in the lab.

Audience: Physicians only.

Credits: The North American Spine Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The North American Spine Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.

Learn More & Register

Lumbar Spinal Injections: Hands-on
Friday, October 1 (7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

This half-day intensive workshop, featuring basic lumbar spinal injection techniques, provides didactic, hands-on, and case discussions to provide further understanding of the role of basic lumbar spinal injections in spine care. The workshop will progress your knowledge and skill, utilizing cadavers for demonstration of anatomic fluoroscopic structure in correlation with the various procedures. Residents and fellows are highly encouraged to attend, though all providers are welcome as space allows.

Audience: Residents/Fellows only.

Note: Attendees will receive the didactic lectures prior to the course so focus on-site will be primarily in the lab.

Credits: The North American Spine Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The North American Spine Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.

Learn More & Register

Surgical Technique Cadaver Demonstrations

Top surgeons will describe techniques from their pre-recorded cadaver demonstrations so the audience can pose questions in real time throughout the sessions. Surgeons will be live on stage to answer questions and discuss the techniques in detail.

Wednesday, September 29
Endoscopic Spine Surgery: 10:35 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Presenter: Michael Y. Wang, MD

Minimally Invasive Surgery TLIF: 3:35-5:05 p.m.

Presenter: John C. Liu, MD

Thursday, September 30
Robotics Surgery: 3:35-5:05 p.m.

Presenter: Isador H. Lieberman, MD

Friday, October 1
Minimally Invasive Lateral Interbody Fusion: 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Presenter: Juan S. Uribe, MD

Cervical Spine Deformity Surgery: 3:00-5:05 p.m.

Presenters: K. Daniel Riew, MD; Christopher P. Ames, MD


Surgical, medical and multidisciplinary symposia will offer a wide range of content for every spine care professional.

7:35-8:35 a.m.

Social Media: How to Use it and Not
Social media and internet use for acquiring health care information is about 72% among US citizens and continues to increase dramatically. In this symposium, faculty will discuss various social platforms, how to make them work for you, website optimization, where to place your ads, experiences with social media by early adopters, and understanding negative outcomes.

Intradiscal Cellular Therapies for Degenerative Disc Disease: Where are We Now and Where are We Going?
Spine related pathology is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is strongly associated with degenerative disc disease. Surgical treatment in essence is palliative rather than disease modifying, and Faculty will address the clinical evidence for development of cellular therapies to modify the course of degenerative disc disease (DDD). Topics include safety, efficacy, and regulatory challenges.

8:35-10:00 a.m.

Future of Healthcare
Faculty will discuss the recent advances in the healthcare field that directly or indirectly influences spine surgery and ambulatory care centers, and provide a glimpse into what to expect for the future including government and insurance company perspectives.

10:35 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Section on Spine Oncology: Tough Calls in Spine Oncology
Faculty will present difficult or controversial cases involving lesions of the spine and encourage attendees to participate in the decision making process. Each case will cover a particular pathology or approach to pathology. The session will conclude with a round table faculty discussion on these controversial topics.

2:05-3:05 p.m.

Exercise Committee: Virtual Delivery of Spine Care
Description coming soon.

3:35-5:05 p.m.

Section on Robotics & Navigation: Which Robotic System Should Be Part of Your Operating Room?
Faculty will identify the unique features of the different robotic platforms used in spine surgery as well as the advantages and disadvantages of image-guided surgery to robotic spine surgery.

Section on IONM: Neuromonitoring in Cervical Spine Surgery: Utility, Value and Lessons Learned
Description coming soon.

7:25-8:25 a.m.

Quest for Truth--Online Databases versus Registries: Reflecting the True Outcomes
In this symposium, faculty will summarize data procured based on the CPT/ISD codes entered from the patient visit to the hospital and registry data populated by patient data entered directly by a researcher based on patient interview as well as how to procure data, and how to contribute to big data in registries with pricing and value.

Adult Cervical Spine Deformity: Patient Assessment, Surgical Correction Techniques, and Complication
Faculty will address the assessment and treatment options for patients with adult cervical spine deformity since many surgeons/healthcare providers are unfamiliar with cervical deformity assessment or are uncomfortable with surgically treating cervical spine deformities.

8:30-9:30 a.m.

Spine Care in the Post-Pandemic World: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 and Future Threats on the Horizon
In this symposium, faculty will contextualize and collate the potential for future threats to the healthcare system from emerging viruses and the prospect of more pandemic, as well as best practices for the field going forward. 

1:00-2:00 p.m.

Endoscopic Surgery: Relevance, Economy and Latest Trends
A follow-up to last year’s symposium, faculty will address combining different technology with endoscopy, discuss the investment and learning curve to adopt endoscopy as well as transforming an endoscopic practice to ambulatory care surgery, its pitfalls and back-up plans.

2:05-3:05 p.m.

AMA Guides® to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment: Achieving Equitable Impairment Ratings Through the Most Current Medicine
In this symposium, attendees will learn about the substantial modernization and simplified utilization of the new and improved AMA Guides, directly from the source. Faculty will address the importance of using the most current evidence-based medicine to determine impairment ratings and will specifically address how the recent content updates impact impairment ratings and independent medical examinations of the spine.

3:35-5:05 p.m.

Seeing Spinal Metastases 20:20 - A Review of the Current State of the Art and Future Directions
Faculty will provide a comprehensive review of current advances and best practices in the management of patients with spinal metastatic disease.

7:30-8:55 a.m.

Cellular Bone Matrices for Spinal Fusion: A Critical Evaluation of the Evidence, Safety, and Value
Cellular bone matrices comprise an estimated 17% of all bone grafts used, yet clinical evidence remains limited regarding their efficacy. Faculty will discuss the available products on the market and examine their technical specifications, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, cost and potential pitfalls and efficacy.

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Individualizing Surgical Care for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (AOSpine RECODE DCM Research Priority): Current Perspectives and Future Directions for Practice and Research
Description coming soon.

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Contemporary Surgical Concepts for Acute Spinal Cord Injury
In this symposium, faculty will review the latest data on the timing of surgical decompression for complete and incomplete spinal cord injury as well as address some of the technical aspects of decompression that consider the post-injury swelling that often occurs in the spinal cord.

1:00-2:30 p.m.

NASS Advocacy 2021
Description coming soon.

Benchmarking and Predictive Analytics to Improve Safety and Outcomes for Adult and Pediatric Spine Surgery
Benchmarking efforts and use of predictive analytics have become integral to assist with health care performance. Faculty will discuss different societal efforts to create benchmarking and predictive analytic platforms to improve surgeon performance and patient safety.

3:00-4:00 p.m.

What Every Surgeon Needs to Know About Adult Lumbar Scoliosis
Faculty will review the evaluation and work-up, as well as surgical considerations in managing the care of patients with adult lumbar scoliosis

4:05-5:05 p.m.

The State of Robotic Spine Surgery in 2021
Description coming soon.

8:00-9:00 a.m.

AR, VR, AI and Large Data
In this symposium, attendees will learn about the difference between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), recent advances in the AR/VR platforms, artificial intelligence (AI) platforms currently in use, patient centered apps to harness data for AI, current technological limitations and future advances. Additionally, faculty will present a live demonstration on these technologies.

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Patient Frailty and Associated Impact on Spine Surgery: Assessment, Outcomes and Optimization
Patient frailty is rapidly gaining attention as an important physiological measure that is associated with patient outcomes, complications and cost of care. Faculty will define patient frailty and evaluate the impact of frailty upon spine surgery.

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Evolving Trends in Ambulatory Surgical Care Pre- and Current COVID Era
In this symposium, faculty will provide expert opinion on experiences with ambulatory surgery centers during the COVID era, including Medicare benefits and potential growth, as well as trends for the future of ambulatory surgery centers.

Nuances of Lateral Access Techniques to the Lumbar Spine: Antepsoas, Oblique, Transpsoas and Prone-lateral
Description coming soon.

Abstract Presentations

Topic-specific abstract presentations highlighting detailed research with discussion to follow.

Session topics include:

  • Best Papers
  • Spinal Infections
  • Spinal Implant Research
  • Pre-Op, Intraop and Postop Considerations in Thoracolumbar Spine Surgery
  • Spinal Deformity
  • Robotics (Surgery Thoracolumbar)
  • Social and Psychosocial Determinants of Health
  • Operative Planning in Spinal Deformity
  • Research in Injection and Percutaneous Interventions
  • Outcomes and Complications
  • Emerging Technologies in Spinal Healthcare (Telemedicine, AI, 3-D Printing and Navigation)
  • Cervical Spine Surgery
  • Big Data Considerations in Spinal Healthcare Research
  • Injections and Nonoperative Interventions/Imaging
  • Management of Spinal Tumors
  • Thoracolumbar Surgery I
  • Cervical Spine Deformity
  • Perioperative and Postoperative Management
  • Attaining Balance After Spine Surgery
  • Novel Findings in Diagnostic Related Research
  • Opioids, Pain and Behavioral Health in Current Spinal Care
  • Motion Preservation
  • Thoracolumbar Surgery II
  • Spinal Alignment
  • ERAS and Perioperative Care
  • Socioeconomics and Cost of Spine
  • Evaluating Outcome in Spine Care
  • Advancements in Cervical Myelopathy and Radiculopathy Research
  • Complications Following High Intensity Surgical Procedures
  • Safety and Quality in Spinal Care Delivery
  • Behavioral Factors in Clinical Practice
  • Decision Making in Spinal Trauma
  • Bone Mineral Density, Sarcopenia, Frailty and Perioperative Outcomes

Best Papers

Hear the best of the best science. Authors will present the best 23 papers out of 424 accepted during the Best Paper sessions.

Early mobilization versus prolonged (>24hrs) bedrest for incidental durotomy (Complications)
Christopher Verma, MD

Association between initial site of care and subsequent treatment patterns for back and neck pain (Interdisciplinary Care)
Katherine Bobroske, MSc

Comparison of complications, outcomes, and cost in frail vs. non-frail adult spinal deformity surgery patients (Surgery-Thoracolumbar)
Peter Passias, MD

Single level cervical disc replacement using a PEEK-on-ceramic implant: Results of a multicenter FDA IDE trial with 24-month follow-up (Motion Preservation)
Richard Guyer, MD

Impact of racial and ethnic disparities on health outcomes following cervical spine surgery (Epidemiology/Etiology)
Hiral Master, PhD, PT, MPH

Telemedicine visits generate accurate surgical plans in spine surgery (Socio-Economics/ Industrial/ Ergonomic)
Alexander Crawford, MD

An algorithm for using deep learning convolutional neural networks with three-dimensional depth sensor imaging in scoliosis detection (Diagnostics/Imaging)
Terufumi Kokabu, MD

How the back affects the neck: Preoperative sagittal vertical axis is correlated with cervical myelopathy scores (Epidemiology/Etiology)
Justin Scheer, MD

Effects of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on mental health (Psychosocial/Behavioral)
Thomas Dowling, MD

Highest achievable outcomes for adult spinal deformity corrective surgery by frailty (Surgery-Thoracolumbar)
Peter Passias, MD

Global coronal decompensation after adult spinal deformity surgery: Comparison of upper vs. lower thoracic proximal fixation (Spinal Deformity)
Thomas Buell, MD

Seven- to 21-year clinical outcomes of 1,187 patients treated with one and two level lumbar total disc arthroplasty (Motion Preservation)
Thierry Marnay, MD

Cervical alignment and distal junctional failure in posterior cervical fusion: A multicenter comparison of two surgical approaches (Surgery-Cervical)
Zachariah Pinter, MD

Full endoscopic versus open discectomy for sciatica A randomized controlled trial (Surgery-Thoracolumbar)
Pravesh Gadjradj, MD

Correcting ASD patients to normative alignment results in no functional benefit but more PJK and PJF (Spinal Deformity)
Themistocles Protopsaltis, MD

Do robotic procedures have improved perioperative outcomes after a learning curve period? (Surgery-Thoracolumbar)
Peter Passias, MD

Is patient geography a risk factor for chronic opioid use after ACDF? (Psychosocial/Behavioral)
Hannah Levy, BS

Catastrophic acute failure of pelvic fixation in adult spinal deformity requiring revision surgery: A multi-center review of incidence, failure mechanisms, and risk factors (Complications)
Christopher Martin, MD

Role of psychosocial factors on the effect of physical activity on physical function in patients after lumbar spine surgery (Epidemiology/Etiology)
Hiral Master, PhD, PT, MPH

Psychological distress in patients undergoing cervical spine surgery: 2-year outcomes of a randomized controlled trial ( Psychosocial/Behavioral)
Peter Passias, MD

A clinical model to predict postoperative improvement in sub domains of the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score for degenerative cervical myelopathy (Surgery-Cervical)
Byron Stephens, MD

Persistent sleep disturbance after spine surgery is associated with failure to achieve meaningful improvements in pain and health related quality of life (Epidemiology/Etiology)
Richard Skolasky, ScD

The inclusion of frailty improves predictive modeling for postoperative outcomes in the surgical management of primary and secondary lumbar spine tumors (Epidemiology/Etiology)
Shane Shahrestani, MS

Free Pre-meeting Webinars

The following webinars are available live on consecutive Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. CST starting from August 19 to September 2. These webinars will be included in the virtual NASS 2021 Annual Meeting and OnDemand. Register Today!

August 19, 2021

Section on Biologics: The Bone Morphogenetic Protein Pendulum: Reemergence of Use and Alternatives
Usage of bone morphogenetic protein has seen large fluctuations given the controversy regarding its safety. With a reemergence in use of BMP2 as well as use of small molecule and peptide alternatives to BMP2, faculty will evaluate the efficacy and safety of these applications.

August 26, 2021

NASS Exercise Committee: How to Incorporate Psychologically-Informed Practice into Exercise Management of Spine Care: Behavioral Approaches
This session is aimed at providing essential knowledge to help the spine provider make informed decisions about implementing psychologically-informed practice for the management of patients with spinal pain disorders, with an emphasis on behavioral aspects related to delivering therapeutic exercise.

September 2, 2021

Section on IONM: Regulatory and Medicolegal Aspects of Neuromonitoring in Spine Surgery
Faculty will address the most common questions the IONM Section receives about IONM guidelines and standards, clinical practice patterns, and closed claims involving IONM and spine surgery. Attendees are encouraged to share their experiences and perspectives during the question and answer portion.

Register Today