The 53rd Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research

Masahiko Watanabe, MD, PhD
Congress President
The 53rd Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research
Director, Tokai University Hospital
Professor & Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

It is an honor to host the 53rd Annual Meeting of JSSR on April 18-20, 2024, at PACIFICO Yokahama Conference Center in Kanagawa, Japan. As a spine surgeon that has attended the annual JSSR meetings for over thirty years, the meetings have continually been a place to learn from the forerunners in the field about the most recent advances in spine surgery. The meetings have fostered my career and so I personally consider it a special privilege to host this meeting. The staff and alumni of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Tokai University School of Medicine are working hard to make this conference a vibrant venue that opens a new chapter in the field of spine surgery and related research.

The spine and spinal cord are the pillars of the musculoskeletal system, and its disorders can cause diverse symptoms such as pain, motor and sensory impairment, bladder-bowel disturbance, and cosmetic disfigurement. The pathology can also be diverse, including causes such as congenital, genetic, degenerative, and traumatic conditions. Therefore, the four thousand members of JSSR must individualize treatment according to each patient, endeavoring to improve treatment strategies through continuous research in both basic and clinical fields. The Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research, founded in 1974 celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Therefore the 53rd Annual Meeting is a culmination of fifty years of research into spinal ailments and also a steppingstone into the next era. Confucius said that "at fifty I knew the will of heaven," and it made me wonder what heaven’s bidding for the JSSR was. While acknowledging the tremendous strides brought about in this half-century in both basic research and clinical techniques of spine surgery, I felt that this frenzied drive for advancement may have at times been at the expense of humility and humanity of the participants, for both the caregivers as well as recipients. That is why I selected "Yasashii" (やさしい) as a keyword of this conference. Yasashii has many meanings such as gentle, kind, easy, tender, and soft, and I hope that we can be more Yasashii in our practice for both physical and psychological aspects, for diagnosis of conditions and treatment procedures, and for both patients and spine surgeons.

We have put together an ambitious program that covers a wide variety of issues that JSSR members and all professions involved in the care of patients with spinal ailments would be interested in. In addition to the practical lectures on spine surgery, we have included special lectures regarding medical safety, work style reform programs, and board certification for spine surgeons, and are confident that participants will not be disappointed. We have also invited many overseas speakers and hope to renew old friendships and make new acquaintances after three years of COVID restrictions. It is my desire that this conference will further the standing of JSSR and will ultimately contribute to alleviating the suffering of patients suffering from spinal diseases.

It is my hope and expectation that life after COVID with return to normal in 2024, and I look forward to welcoming you to Yokohama in April. May our passionate discussions at the conference pave the way for the next of era of a strong, yet kind and gentle, practice of spine surgery and related research.