As news about COVID-19 dominates media and public safety discussions at state and federal levels, we want you to know that since we are still two months away, we have no plans right now to cancel AST’s 51st Surgical Technology Conference occurring May 28-30, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Your safety is our top priority, however, and we recognize this as an extremely important and evolving situation. We will continue to monitor developments and base any decisions we make concerning our annual conference on the advice of health and safety experts. In addition, we are waiving all cancellation fees for our attendee registrants, and in the case the event is canceled, all attendee registrations will be refunded completely.

As an organization of healthcare professionals, AST recognizes the value that our members place on the importance of infection prevention practices not just when traveling, but every day. We will continue to provide updates. 

Holly Falcon, CST, FAST
AST President

  • Of Interest

    Here you will find timely news of note relating to the surgical arena.

  • Surgery in Space: On a Mission

    With private companies pushing the way for more space exploration, longer space missions will continue to be a focus in the future. Scientific American looks at what it will take for astronauts and future travelers to have more than just routine care aboard long-duration flights. Due to the elements the human body is exposed to in space, travelers and planners will need to know how to “tackle the uncertainties pertaining to mechanisms, presentation and severity of pathology, but also the extreme limitations in diagnostic and treatment capabilities available on board a spacecraft.”

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    Medical Tourism on the Rise as More Americans Opt for Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico

    The rising costs of surgery in the United States combined with a lack of insurance is prompting more individuals to seek out procedures in other countries. This rise in medical tourism has even prompted the Joint Commission International (JCI) to establish guidelines for international facilities, with other groups also stepping up efforts to implement guidelines globally.

    Despite the risks, the American Journal of Medicine estimated that 1.4 million Americans chose to proceed with surgeries in foreign countries in 2017. For most of these individuals, a lack of insurance and a cost reduction of as much as 65% was enough to people to cross the border.

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    Open Fetal Surgery Helps Repair Spine of Unborn Infant

    A couple was distressed to learn that their unborn child was diagnosed with birth defects. However, doctors in Dallas saw an opportunity to intervene and prevent further injury to the babies’ organs.

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    Could Medical Cannabis Help with Reducing Opioid Use and Surgical Pain?

    A study issued by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that cannabis and cannabis-derived products could reduce a patient’s post-operative pain.

    The study performed in 2017 found that opioid users preferred cannabinoids and found them to be just as effective or even more effective then the prescription drugs. It also found that users also reported more tolerable side effects.

    However, there are obstacles for the use of cannabinoids for pain management as marijuana remains illegal under federal law and state laws vary. Another downside is the price as the marijuana industry is a cash-only, no-insurance business prompting patients to pay out of pocket.

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    Surgical Delays Cost Hospitals Money. And the Main Cause of Those Delays? Miscommunication

    Hospitals nationwide are starting to look at how the first ase of the day can greatly affect the rest of the day’s cases and their bottom line. All it takes is a few minutes to throw the day off schedule resulting in a domino effect and major surgery delays.

    A medical center in Pennsylvania implemented a new system that utilized technology to identify each department’s process flow in order to decrease start times. Although it took a year, they finally reached 100% start times in May 2018. Other hospitals also have implemented delay codes to track, analyze and improve their surgical departments start times.

    A Case Cart Assessment Checklist (CCAC) was created to identify instruments missing from case carts. The CCAC combined with a Needs List process helped to reduce first-case instrument delays by 36% from a five-month time period in 2017.

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