From submission to presentation, here’s what happens to abstracts for the AAOS Annual Meeting
Your cutting-edge research is ready to be committed to paper and revealed to the world. Showcasing it at the AAOS Annual Meeting is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Give your abstract the best chance of being chosen by following these simple guidelines.
Submitting your abstract
The deadline for submitting your abstract is June 4, 2007. If you haven’t already submitted your abstract, you haven’t much time left, but the process is simple. Just go to www.aaos.org/abstractsub and click on “Poster/Podium Abstract Submission.” The “General Information” tab provides information on formats, grading, and policies governing accepted applications. The “Instructions to Complete Abstract Application” defines the categories and reviews the rules for submission.
Step 1: Type, title, and classification
You must first decide whether you have a preference for your presentation format—podium or poster. The AAOS Program Committee will take your preference into account, but it cannot guarantee your choice of format.
Next, you must answer a series of questions about your abstract, including whether your research subjects are living humans or animals. If the answer is “yes,” you must indicate whether an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Ethics Committee approved your study. An IRB is a specially constituted review body established or designated by an entity to protect the welfare of human subjects recruited to participate in biomedical or behavioral research. If you practice outside of the United States, where IRB or Ethics Committee approval is not required, indicate that the study was “Not approved, or not submitted” and explain the reason why in the space provided.
You must also indicate whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved all the devices and pharmaceuticals for the use described in your study or whether your study does not describe the use of devices or pharmaceuticals. The FDA approval requirement only applies if you practice in the United States.
Finally, you must submit a summary sentence describing your abstract and select the category that best describes the content of your research. The summary sentence will be used in the Annual Meeting Final Program if your abstract is accepted. The 12 categories of research include the following: adult reconstruction—hip, adult reconstruction—knee, sports medicine/arthroscopy, hand/wrist, foot/ankle, shoulder/elbow, rehabilitation medicine, trauma, spine, practice management/nonclinical, pediatrics, and tumors/metabolic bone disease. You may also elect to choose a second and third category that describes your abstract.
Steps 2 and 3: Presenter and co-authors
These steps require you to enter the last and first names of the presenter as well as the authors and co-authors of the abstract. Once you do so, the AAOS will search its database for the city and state of the people whose names you’ve entered so you can confirm the database has identified the correct people. If the database contains more than one person with the same name, you’ll need to select the correct entry based on the city and state. You may enter the names of people who are not already in the system by adding them to the database.
Step 4: Review and submit abstract
Finally, you must enter your abstract, which can be a maximum of 250 words long. Each abstract has four parts, or fields. The introduction should clearly state the problem and the purpose of the study. The methods section should describe what was actually done. The results summarize the findings of the study. The discussion/conclusion should be based on the findings and relate to the stated purpose of the study and existing knowledge.
Do not list any authors’ names, their institutions of origin, or the names of companies or products involved in the study. If you do, your abstract will be disqualified. Do not include any photographic material, radiographs, charts, graphs, or tables.
How your abstract will be evaluated
Each abstract is reviewed by a subcommittee of four to nine orthopaedic surgeons practicing in the designated abstract category (pediatrics, hand/wrist, etc.).
A 10-point scale—ranging from superior to poor—is used. Reviewers look for specific features (see sidebar on page 8), and grading is influenced by the following factors:
- significance of the study
- content and clarity of the abstract
- specific number of cases or specimen studies
- presence of clinical or research data to support the study’s conclusions
- minimum follow-up of two years per patient for results describing reconstructive procedures
- description of new or modified techniques related to diagnosis, surgery, complications or other phases of orthopaedic surgical problems
After the subcommittees grade their assigned abstracts, the results are sent to the AAOS Program Committee. Each member of the committee is assigned up to three abstract categories. Committee members review the highest-rated abstract submissions and designate them as either paper or podium presentations, based on the subject matter and your initial presentation preference.
Give yourself an edge
“The abstract submission and acceptance process is competitive,” says Daniel J. Berry, MD, chair of the Central Program Committee. “Applicants should frame their question in a manner that’s relevant to the current practice of orthopaedics. Write the abstract clearly and follow the standard scientific outline to have the best chance of being accepted.”
Dr. Berry notes that submitting abstracts for podium and poster presentations is crucial to advancing knowledge about orthopaedics because “the exchange of the latest information about musculoskeletal medicine is one of the most important aspects of the Annual Meeting.”
Planning ahead is critical. Be sure to meet the appropriate deadlines, as indicated in the timeline, and you could be part of the Academy’s 75th Annual Meeting, March 5-9, 2008, in San Francisco!
Jennie McKee is a staff writer for AAOS Now.