August 31, 2017
2 min read

2017 Mark Paterson Travelling Fellows share their experience: A report summary

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The Mark Paterson Travelling Fellowship 2017, which is supported by Bone & Joint Journal and EFORT, took place from 15 to 30 May 2017 in Portugal, Spain and Italy, culminating in the fellows’ participation in the 18th EFORT Annual Congress in Vienna.

The chosen sub-specialties were spine (Derek and Farhaan) and lower limb arthroplasty (Sammy).

The fellowship started at the Hospital CUF Descobertas – Jose de Mello Saude in Lisbon, Portugal, where the fellows were hosted by Prof. Dr. Jorge Mineiro and his team. This new university-affiliated private clinic is one of the largest in Lisbon. We were impressed by the application of a healthy team-based approach, generosity of time afforded to us as fellows and the pleasant evening when we dined together.

The second stop on the tour was at Hospital Universitari Quiron Dexeus in Barcelona, Spain, where we were hosted by Prof. Dr. Enric Palou Caceres and his team. Cases for discussion included management of osteoporotic odontoid peg fractures and degenerative lumbar deformity — both of increasing relevance in our health systems. We were treated to attend a FC Barcelona football game at the famous Camp Nou.

The third stop on the tour was at the Instituto Ortopedico Rizzoli in Bologna, Italy, where we were hosted by Prof. Dr. Stefano Zaffagnini. The city has long been a seat of learning, and its students included such iconic names as Dante, Petrarch, Galvani, Malpighi and Valsalva. This center eclipsed a global pillar of orthopaedic surgery in terms of its history, its range of orthopaedic services and its advances in treatment and diagnosis. The Biblioteca Umberto I, the library created by the original monks and handed over to a succession of orthopaedic surgeons, not the least of who was Putti, was breathtaking as it included both manuscripts from the original anatomy theatres of Padua, Bologna and the Arab world, all at least 500 years old.

The 18th EFORT Annual Congress in Vienna was a suitable finale to an enjoyable learning experience. While attending the sub-speciality workshops, research presentations and state-of-the-art discussions, our European experience allowed us a greater appreciation of different perspectives. It was enjoyable to hear about ongoing projects in countries that would not typically feature in the United Kingdom/United States-dominated literature. We were also invited to evening events, such as one hosted by the Bone & Joint Journal and EFORT.

The fellowship was a valuable and thought-provoking experience. We were treated well and were allowed privileged access to theatres and clinics at centres of excellence. The informal conversations with experienced surgeons proved a real insight into the experiences, both good and bad, that are not always as well described in the literature. We would encourage all trainee orthopaedic surgeons to avail of educational opportunities such as the Mark Paterson Travelling Fellowship supported by BJJ and EFORT.