I’ve been involved with an organization called AAOM for years. This is a group that really pioneered the most basic regenerative medicine techniques way back in the 80’s and continues to innovate in that area. Let’s review what I love about these meetings.
What is AAOM?
AAOM stands for the American Academy of Orthopedic Medicine. It’s a group of doctors who banded together in the 80’s to revitalize prolotherapy. At the time, the idea that you could prompt the body to heal itself was very controversial. While today, with the advent of PRP and stem cell-based procedures this idea of regeneration has become more common, back then there was comfort in numbers.
What is Prolotherapy?
If someone was to write the history of regenerative medicine and orthobiologics, one of the first chapters would be on prolotherapy. This is the injection of substances to cause a brief inflammatory healing event, giving the patient another bite at the healing apple. It works really well with ligaments that are damaged and have laxity.
I first began attending these meetings more than a decade ago when it became clear that as a prolotherapist who also used platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, this was a good home. In the past decade, AAOM has evolved into an annual conference that addresses a broad range of regenerative medicine topics. There are courses on traditional prolotherapy, lectures on PRP and stem cells, and breakouts on “how to” for many different treatment techniques. There are palpation guided injections and advanced image-guided work.
What’s Unique About AAOM?
The most unique thing about AAOM is the stuff you don’t get at other conferences. For example, I am always mesmerized by the talks that Brad Fullerton gives on fascia. This is a topic that we all intuitively know is likely important, but few of us have taken the time to get this dialed in at our practices. So getting exposed to this always makes you want to go back and learn more. Another highlight is seeing ultrasound impresario Brian Shiple showing his latest and greatest techniques for injecting structures in new ways that you may never have thought about. Or Shawn Mulvaney or others demonstrating advanced neural injection techniques that are groundbreaking. I simply don’t know of another conference where so much stuff is being done at once.
Then you have the mission trips, which are the only advanced regen educational experiences on earth that allow you to get training on live patients. While everyone else is running cadaver courses, there’s nothing like being able to help the poor in underdeveloped countries while you hone your skills. These are very unique experiences.
The AAOM Conference Next Month
The annual AAOM conference is coming up in one month on April 2nd-4th in Washington, DC. I was invited to speak but had a conflict with my niece’s wedding, so John Pitts, M.D. will be representing our practice. You shouldn’t miss this event!
What else is going on at this AAOM conference? Since this is in DC, Peter Marks, M.D., the FDA head of CBER will be there. That alone may be worth the price of admission. I’m sure he’s going to get peppered with questions!
The upshot? AAOM is a unique organization that serves a critical role in regenerative medicine education. It has so much to offer so many physicians that you need to make sure you get to this one! It’s also a great org for all of us to support!