Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Requiem for NASS

The industry just finished a week of chest pumping, high fiving, and flexing its muscle in the greatest city in the United States, that's right readers, San Francisco. The consensus seems to be that this meeting SUCKED! No NASS this isn't TSB's opinion, these are the feelings of industry professionals. Do you hear that NASS and Spine Companies! Contrary to what the analysts' have to say, it was much of the same old, same old products. I'm sure that many of you believe that you are doing God's work! So what does the industry have to show for all this hoopla. We found out that Danek is going "back to the future" with the TSRH3Dx. You would think Robert Zemeckis was running the company, and Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown were running R&D. Nice going boys! As TSB stated, pulling out old designs and re-inventing them is not innovation, its stagnation leading to more commodity products. Then we had DePuy announce the launch of another anterior cervical plate (and everyone thought we were crazy when we wanted to design this plate ten years ago). A uniplanar plate is just what the industry needed. Let's see, less metal, less screws means less cost, another senseless product to drive down the cost of cervical plating. How many different versions of a cervical plate do we need? Constrained, Semi-constrained, Hybrid, Dynamic, Buttress, Kick-Plate etc, etc, on so on! Amedica announced that it had launched new products only to find out that the company reached a distribution agreement with Integra Spine to distribute the old Tether Plate and Therics calcium phosphate material, old news must be good news. Custom Spine launched a product that was originally exhibited at the 2006 NASS meeting with an FDA disclaimer, along with another "me too" cervical plate. By the way CSI start looking for a new President time is not on your side. One has to wonder whether the industry needs a GPS to get it through these uncertain times. These meetings are beginning to look like an 25th Anniversary Alumni gathering at my old university. Sitting in a dentist's chair for two hours and getting a root canal is not this painful.

One question that TSB must ask is why do we get the same old analysis from the analysts? Could it be that they lack the clinical knowledge to put their reputations on the line with potential emerging technologies? When will we ever get a coherent analysis on some of the facet technologies that are starting to make headway in the industry? And I am not talking about Facet Solutions either! Whether you agree with it or not there is a market. When will we get a real analysis regarding some of the bio-materials that are utilized in fusion? Is the industry that tainted that we rely on opinions from analysts that have a vested interest in the success or failure of a product?

TSB can guarantee that next year's meeting will be no different. It's time that things change or companies start to boycott NASS. What do our readers think?


  1. Once again're RIGHT ON TARGET!!! Job well done!

  2. The value of all these meetings has diminished each year while the costs have increased. Is anyone paying attention at these organizations? With pricing going down and reimbursement being cut, are they immune from the effects? Someone needs to shake things up!

  3. Yes you are correct! NASS was an absolute waste of time!
    The society was more worried about what hotel you were staying in and handing out threats about the use of badges in an innapropriate way. Talk about majoring in the minors instead of making sure that the meeting was of quality.
    Also, the product awards, well, that is all about money along with certain companies getting the poll position with "favorable" articles and advertising.
    The ah ha's are probably going to turn into oh oh's.