The Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery (SCVS) recently held its 49th annual symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference was in-person, and the strong attendance marked a vital transition back to pre-pandemic academic networking and discussion.
Following cancellation in 2020, the organization adapted to pandemic woes by presenting the 2021 symposium as a hybrid model. While this model was accepted by several medical and surgical societies, it curbed attendee participation – which I believe is heart of any successful conference.
This year the camaraderie was palpable among the attendees. The trainee courses started a full day ahead of the main scientific sessions. As the demand for vascular surgery continues to trends upward, the field has dramatically increased its recruitment efforts over several years. The trainee courses provided dedicated time for young surgeons to obtain positive mentorship, collaborate, and develop an appreciation for the academic vascular surgery community they will soon join.
Facilitating interactions among the practicing surgeons and trainees highlights the SCVS’s dedication for vascular surgery education. After a 2-year hiatus, the SCVS Top Gun competition was one of the most attended events. The competition features vascular surgery trainees as they compete with a public display of their surgical skills – including sewing bypass grafts/patches and performing endovascular aortic aneurysm repair on simulators. The event concludes with a thrilling head-to-head battle for the top spot. Easily the most colorful event of the symposium, it underlines the sense of community among vascular surgeons.
As noted in its name, the SCVS focuses on clinically relevant discussion. Ranging from peripheral vascular disease and aortic disease, to dialysis and thoracic outlet syndrome, the scientific sessions provided fertile ground for dialogue. The sessions had excellent audience participation and I am sure provided roots for future research projects.
Rapidly advancing technology will always challenge the traditional management of vascular and venous diseases. With increased industry participation in clinical practices, vascular specialists are at risk of bias in their treatment algorithms. The numerous presentations evaluating these emergent techniques, and the subsequent audience discussions gave me faith that as a field we are committed to providing durable and appropriate care for our patients.
Not unique to vascular surgery, polarizing opinions on practice patterns and training paradigms generates significant buzz at conferences. The SVCS hosts moderated debate sessions between invited leaders. Specifically, the adoption of virtual interactions for vascular surgery residency interviews and oral board examinations has been heavily contested. From a trainee standpoint I advocate for the virtual model, however, I concede that in-person interactions provide intangible information including learning style and personality – both of which are integral when determining "fit" at a training program.
The success of the 2022 SCVS symposium was reassuring. Although the pandemic may have transiently curbed academic partnerships, I am confident the vascular surgery community will continue its mission of promoting strong surgical training and providing superior patient care.
Dr. Patel reports no conflicts of interest.
Image by GoodStudio / Shutterstock