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Event organizers have estimated that more than 500 exhibitors and 300 speakers from 45 nations and some 21,000 visitors from more than 100 countries are expected to attend ORTHOPÄDIE + REHA-TECHNIK (O+R) 2012. The four-day O+R World Congress got under way Tuesday, May 15, at the Liepziger Messe Congress Center, Germany; the three-day O+R Trade Show began the following day. The opening days were staggered primarily to reduce the number of parallel events in the Congress.
“It’ll be a wonderful conference with lots of innovation with an emphasis on technology,” Klaus-Jürgen Lotz, president of the German Association of Orthopedic Technology, told a room full of colleagues, visitors, and exhibitors on Tuesday. “We…[had] so many more speakers who asked to speak during this event that we had to ask them to wait for the next conference.”
Opening day World Congress session topics ranged from the influence of biomechanics on the design of modern sockets for the lower limb, and treating patients with severe burns, to discussions on the foot and shoe. Heading up the discussions were Siegmar Blumentritt, PhD, with Ottobock, Duderstadt, Germany; Frank Gottschalk, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Randall Alley, CP, FAAOP, CEO of biodesigns, Santa Monica, California; and Olaf Gawron, DE, with Pohlig Orthopädie-Technik, Heidelberg, Germany.
Discussions centered on the differences in anatomy and biomechanics from the knee disarticulation to the short transfemoral amputation, the importance of muscle stabilization and its relation to biomechanics in transfemoral amputation, what is allowed in modern socket design in transfemoral prosthetics, and functional prosthetic socket design as the key to a successful application of modern prosthetic systems in lower-limb prostheses.
The 2012 Congress is more than just a “meeting of the minds,” Jan H.B. Geertzen, MD, PhD, president of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), said, but a “place to meet old friends and meet new ones.”
Geertzen said though each Trade Show and World Congress is different from the previous one, the main goal remains the same—to work to continue to develop technology and products that are designed to improve the lives of those living with disability.
The Glass Hall exhibit area, which opened Wednesday morning, provides the opportunity to take a look at past achievements in technical orthopedics. For the first time, the Glass Hall will become a center for up to 700 trainees in orthopedic technology and orthopedic footwear technology.