Getting Answers On The Peripheral Nervous System At The Upcoming AENS Meeting

Stephen Barrett DPM FACFAS

Resolutions are bandying about in our heads, the idiot box, the radio and virtually every other medium known to man now that we have slipped so quickly over the cliff into 2013. In speaking with some of my colleagues while facing the mysterious and unknown precipice of the new year, we discussed upcoming resolutions that we had professionally. Sure, we all wanted to lose some of those pounds packed on at the numerous Christmas parties but I wanted to know what they had in mind from a practice standpoint.

My boring friends proffered nothing novel or even slightly intriguing. I was hoping for some “spark,” a catalyst perhaps that would jettison my mundane routine for some exotic “new” method of practice, supercharging me like Mr. Fahrenheit. (Think Queen here for some mental background music right now.)

Zip, nada, zilch, nothing. These guys had absolutely nothing for me at all. Everybody had already been on the onychomycosis laser train with a one-way ticket only to find every other colleague (insert competitor’s name here) already on the packed boxcar.

However, even though these 980 nm wavelength “hobos” did not have a single thing for me, I had something for them. “PNS to CNS,” I told them. Blank faces stared back at me like black holes on a Hubble space telescope image of deep space.

“PNS,” one finally scoffed. “My wife already went through that.”

“No, you moron, not PMS,” I growled, “PNS. Like peripheral nerve system.”

I had forgotten that these lug nuts had not ever come to an Association for Extremity Nerve Surgeons (AENS) meeting, even though I had been telling (really begging) them for nearly a decade now that they needed to really get their derrieres off their “couch of that’s the way I was trained” to one of these meetings. They might actually expand their clinical universe. They damn sure would be able to help more folks out there. So CNS, they said, must be the central nervous system — brilliance at its highest.

So now that I had their feigned interest, I went on to explain that their “resolution” should be to attend the upcoming AENS “Wine and Nerve” weekend in Napa Valley, Feb. 21-24, 2013.

“Why should we?” they snapped back like some a cappella boy choir. Their harmony was impressive almost to the point that I did not notice their stupefied facial expressions.

“OK, rocket scientists,” I fired back. “Answer these three questions.”

1. What better venue in the world is there for a meeting than Napa Valley when you all love great cabernet sauvignon? We’re all wine guys and happened to be drinking a velvety fermented delicacy that was simply liquid ambrosia. I knew I had them right then and there.

2. Are you doing hormone testing on your chronic pain patients?

3. What type of gabapentinoids are you using perioperatively?

So if you agreed (and they did as they are wine lovers) to question one but have no idea of what the hell I’m talking about in questions two and three, you simply must attend this meeting.

Here is the deal. The Third Annual Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons Wine and Nerve Meeting has the answers this year in “From PNS to CNS: Discover the Connection.” Remember that even if you are not performing lower extremity peripheral nerve surgery but consider yourself a foot and ankle surgeon, your result is no better than what the cortex of the patients tell them. Pure and simple. You can execute the most brilliant piece of surgical mastery in the OR and if the cortex says “nay,” your outcome is poor. Game, set and match.

Even though you may not have a special interest in the peripheral nerve (and you should because anything you do has a connection via a couple of synapses beginning with the peripheral nerve to the brain), you need to come and taste the Kool-Aid.

AENS Meeting Offers Provocative Speakers And Lectures

Still not committed to coming? Okay, let me unleash this on you. Aside from the fact that we will taste the best of the best, we have a truly world-class agenda with world-class speakers.

Sonny Yamasaki, PhD, from Medtronic, will blow you away with his knowledge of neuroscience in his lecture: “Updates in Neuroscience.” Orlando Merced-O’Neill from Axogen will give his great presentation of “the basic science of nerve repair.” Still not enough? Read on.

How about Forest Tennant, MD? The Editor-in-Chief of Practical Pain Management will present his absolutely nucleus accumbens igniting lectures on “Centralized Pain” and “Hormone Treatment of Pain.” This gentleman is simply a fantastic speaker and you will be clamoring for more when he finishes. For a treat, go to the Web site and read his articles on John Kennedy and Doc Holliday. Simply fascinating. Also, when you are there, sign up to receive his publication, the best damn reading there is for nerve boys and girls.

Two more heavyweights are on board. Todd Levine, MD, a neurologist who will give a great “Neuro 101” lecture and Ian Carroll, MD, from Stanford pain management, who is fantastic. He comes and lectures every year and will discuss developments in the perioperative use of gabapentinoids.

We then follow this up with two more great speakers: award-winning Angela Huskey, Pharm D, and Ed Gaines, JD. Dr. Huskey will present an extremely pertinent lecture on “Peri-Op Pain Management” and Mr. Gaines will discuss risk management, hospital credentialing, malpractice preparation and case studies. This is really useful stuff for every surgeon. Additional faculty include Robert Parker, MD, the current president of AENS, Andrew Rader, DPM, and Brad Bakotic, DPM (everyone knows him and his prodigious contribution to our profession). This speaker list is the “dream team,” pure and simple.

After we have these great lectures, we hit the tasting trail to the absolute top of the top wineries like Bennett Lane Winery, Jarvis Winery, Terra Valentine Winery and Hourglass Wines, just to mention a few. Don’t know them? Like great wines? That is enough right there. Let’s go. Get registered at or call Krista Richter at (888) 394-1123.

I must disclose that as the Wine and Scientific Chairman for this meeting, I am biased but everything I say about this meeting is true, and my hyperbole is really setting the bar low.

See you there.

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